Politics & Government

Clintons earned more than $109 million after Bill left office

Sen. Hillary Clinton, husband, Bill Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea in Des Moines, Iowa, in December 2007.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, husband, Bill Clinton, and daughter, Chelsea in Des Moines, Iowa, in December 2007. Chuck Kennedy / MCT

WASHINGTON — Hillary and Bill Clinton reported $20.4 million in income last year and a total of $109.2 million since 2000, as they released their long-awaited tax returns on Friday.

But the returns failed to answer all the questions that have dogged the Democratic presidential candidate and her husband: What, exactly, are all the sources of Bill Clinton's earnings, which have skyrocketed since he left office?

In their last full year in the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton earned $199,573 in wages. The following year, he listed $13.72 million on "gross receipts or sales," as he became an author and collected speaking fees. Last year, he earned $14.5 million from book royalties and speaking fees.

During the years covered by the returns, Clinton made a total of $51.8 million in speech income, but the returns don't list who paid him. He also earned $29.6 million in book proceeds. Clinton's "My Life," published in 2004, brought in $23.3 million, while "Giving," which came out last year, earned him $6.3 million.

The 2006 income tax form lists about $2.66 million in income from Yucaipa Global Holdings, whose chairman, Ron Burkle, had hired Bill Clinton for undisclosed work. Clinton reportedly was ending his business relationship this year with Burkle, a prominent California Democratic fundraiser who's raised money for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton's salary as a New York senator totaled $1 million over those years, while her book income was $10.46 million. Most of the book money came from her 2003 memoir "Living History".

The documents made public Friday didn't include the Clinton's 2007 returns; they provided a summary instead. The couple plans to file for an extension.

The release of the returns came after Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Clinton's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, and several good government groups have criticized Clinton for delaying the release of her tax information.

Clinton campaign officials had promised to release the information around the April 15 income tax filing deadline.

Clinton officials maintained that between the filings that were made public when Bill Clinton was president and their pre-White House tax returns that were public through the Whitewater land deal investigation, the Clintons have the most transparent finances of all the presidential candidates.

"This would appear to be about as complete a picture of the Clintons' finances as you can construct," said Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit group that examines money and politics.

"It's very clear that they are very wealthy, but that's not news. But we have a clearer picture of the sources of their income."

Obama released his 2000 to 2006 returns last week. They showed that his family income rose from $240,000 in 2000 to nearly $1 million in 2006.

The Illinois senator has been criticized for his relatively paltry charitable contributions in earlier years — $2,500 in 2004 from an income of $207,000, for instance. In 2006, the Obamas gave $60,000 to charities from an income of $999,000.

Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain haven't released their 2007 returns.

The Clinton data give glimpses into their earnings and how they figured their taxes. In 2007, for instance, the Clintons paid $5.1 million in federal income taxes on their 2007 earnings and gave more than $3 million to charity.

Since 2000, they've paid $33.7 million in federal taxes, or about 31 percent of their adjusted gross income. In that period they gave a total of $10.26 million to charity, or 9.5 percent of their adjusted gross income.

The documents also show that the Clintons tried mightily to find ways to reduce their tax liability.

They usually calculated expenses for the business use of their home. In 2002, for instance, Hillary Clinton said that 9.62 percent of the couple's 4,718 square-foot home was used for business, while Bill's percentage was 8.87 percent. (The forms don't say which of their two homes — one in Chappaqua, N.Y., the other in Washington, D.C. — this involves, or whether it includes both.)

Hillary Clinton said that $817,297 in profit was "derived from the business use" of their home, while Bill Clinton said $8.4 million fell into that category. They then listed a series of potentially deductible expenses and shaved $30,000 off those totals by taking expenses for utilities and other home-related items.


Hillary and Bill Clinton tax returns (.pdf)

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