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