Clin­tons made over US$139 mil. be­tween ’07-14

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY STEPHEN BRAUN

U.S. pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton and her hus­band, for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, earned more than US$139 mil­lion be­tween 2007 and 2014, ac­cord­ing to eight years of fed­eral in­come tax re­turns re­leased by her cam­paign.

The re­turns re­leased Fri­day show that the Clin­tons paid an over­all fed­eral tax rate of 31.6 per­cent dur­ing those years. The bulk of the Clin­tons’ in­come came from speeches de­liv­ered to cor­po­rate and in­ter­est groups by Bill Clin­ton and later by Hil­lary Clin­ton af­ter she re­signed as sec­re­tary of state in early 2013.

In a state­ment re­leased by her cam­paign, Hil­lary Clin­ton said the cou­ple has paid nearly US$44 mil­lion in fed­eral taxes on US$139.1 mil­lion in in­come since 2006, and do­nated nearly US$15 mil­lion to char­ity.

The for­mer first lady, U.S. sen­a­tor and sec­re­tary of state ap­pears un­likely to face a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent in the pri­mary cam­paign for the rul­ing cen­ter-left Demo­cratic Party, un­like in 2008 when she lost the nom­i­na­tion to Barack Obama. Should she win the nom­i­na­tion, Clin­ton would face the win­ner of a crowded op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Party pri­mary field that could fea­ture as many as two dozen can­di­dates.

Clin­ton’s state­ment did not com­ment on the specifics of her earn­ings. Last May, fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sures re­leased by her cam­paign re­ported that the cou­ple had earned more than US$30 mil­lion from speeches and book roy­al­ties since Jan­uary 2014. The As­so­ci­ated Press has es­ti­mated the Clin­tons made nearly US$50 mil­lion in earn­ings from speeches alone since 2000.

The Clin­tons do­nated nearly 11 per­cent of their in­come to char­ity in 2014, ac­cord­ing to her tax re­turn. This year, the Clin­tons boosted per­sonal do­na­tions to their global fam­ily char­ity, the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion, to be­tween US$5 mil­lion and US$10 mil­lion.

Clin­ton used the oc­ca­sion to re­in­force her call from ear­lier this month for tax code re­forms that would tighten re­stric­tions on cor­po­rate prof­its and tax ben­e­fits for wealthy Amer­i­cans. The fed­eral tax code, she said, is “full of loop­holes that al­low the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans and most pow­er­ful cor­po­ra­tions to game the sys­tem and avoid pay­ing their fair share.”

Buf­fett Rule

She has vowed, if elected, to re­vive a push in Congress to in­sti­tute the so-called Buf­fett rule, named for bil­lion­aire in­vestor War­ren Buf­fett, which would im­pose a min­i­mum tax rate of 30 per­cent on any­one mak­ing more than US$1 mil­lion a year.

Clin­ton also reaf­firmed her pledge to close the “car­ried in­ter­est” loop­hole in fed­eral taxes if elected pres­i­dent. Car­ried in­ter­est, or the share of prof­its from an in­vest­ment fund paid to the fund man­ager, is taxed as the lower cap­i­tal gains rate of 15 per­cent in­stead of as or­di­nary in­come, which could range be­tween 20 and 36.9 per­cent. She has also ad­vo­cated for rais­ing the tax on cap­i­tal gains to as much as 28 per­cent for short-term in­vest­ments.

The cou­ple made nearly US$23 mil­lion from speak­ing fees alone in 2013 — the year Clin­ton left the U.S. State Depart­ment — and col­lected an ad­di­tional US$20 mil­lion from paid events last year. The re­main­der of their in­come came largely from book roy­al­ties and con­sult­ing fees paid to Bill Clin­ton.

The re­turns also de­tailed Bill Clin­ton’s pre­vi­ously undis­closed earn­ings from re­cent con­sult­ing work for cor­po­rate and pri­vate in­ter­ests both in the United States and abroad.

In 2014, the for­mer pres­i­dent made more than US$4.2 mil­lion in earn­ings from Lau­re­ate In­ter­na­tional Univer­si­ties, where he was honorary chan­cel­lor for schools scat­tered across the globe. Clin­ton had a five-year deal with the or­ga­ni­za­tion, start­ing in 2010, but ended his re­la­tion­ship last April, two weeks af­ter his wife an­nounced her bid for pres­i­dent.

Bill Clin­ton had not pre­vi­ously de­tailed his work for Lau­re­ate, but he ap­peared in 2013 at events for the op­er­a­tion’s schools in Morocco, Brazil, Peru and Spain.

Bill Clin­ton was also paid US$2.1 mil­lion from the Dubai-based Verkey GEMS Foun­da­tion, whose CEO, Vikas Pota, aims to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tions to more than 100 mil­lion un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren around the world through schol­ar­ships and teacher train­ing.

Clin­ton’s pre­cise role with GEMS has not been dis­closed, but he named the en­ter­prise a strate­gic part­ner of his foun­da­tion’s Clin­ton Global Ini­tia­tive.

The earn­ings were paid to Bill Clin­ton through a shell com­pany set up for his non­speech work. The en­tity, WJC LLC, was set up in Delaware and New York, lapsed briefly and re­newed in 2013. The ex­is­tence of the LLC was dis­closed by the AP ear­lier this year, but Bill Clin­ton’s of­fice would not de­tail how it was used by the for­mer pres­i­dent.

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