Clintons earned $109 million since 2000
Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton have gone from the White House to the poorhouse to the penthouse, earning $109 million since 2000, according...
More about the Clintons' tax returns: media.mcclatchydc.com/smedia/2008/04/04/16/Lightman-hillary-2.source.prod_affiliate.91.pdf
WASHINGTON — Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton have gone from the White House to the poorhouse to the penthouse, earning $109 million since 2000, according to tax returns released by the campaign late Friday.
Former President Clinton has collected a whopping $51.9 million in speaking fees since leaving office in January 2001, averaging about $150,000 per speech. He's also raked in $29.6 million from his books, including his autobiography, "My Life," which earned tepid reviews.
The Clintons — who left the White House $5 million in debt after running up legal bills during the impeachment battle — were so strapped they turned to fundraiser Terry McAuliffe to put up the $1.35 million needed to buy their New York home in 1999. The documents released Friday illustrate a remarkable financial turnaround, thanks to speaking fees, book contracts and deals with two businessmen who have paid more than $15 million to the former president.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who released his tax returns months ago, has often taunted Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., for refusing to release hers earlier, suggesting she wasn't committed to transparency.
There are few negative surprises in the Clintons' long-awaited filings, which included full returns from 2000 to 2006 and a one-page summary estimating their 2007 return. (As in the past three years, they will seek an extension to file the 2007 return.)
Hillary Clinton accounted for about $11 million of the couple's income, most of it from the $10.5 million she's earned from her 2002 autobiography, "Living History." In January, she lent her campaign $5 million, saying she had used "my money."
The Clintons gave more than $10 million, or about 9.5 percent of gross income, to charity, records show, paying more than $33.8 million in taxes.
Barack and Michelle Obama are relative paupers, earning about $3.9 million from 2000 to 2007. But they gave less to charity than the Clintons as a percentage of their income over that period, about $147,000 or about 4 percent. The couple donated an additional $240,000 to charity last year, according to the Obama campaign.
The Clinton tax returns leave several questions unanswered. Since 2002, for example, the Clintons have given two or more loans of indeterminate value to unspecified "relatives," with no evidence they were repaid. Uncollected interest estimates required by the Internal Revenue Service indicate the loans were substantial, possibly in excess of $100,000, according to accountants.
The returns shed greater light on Bill Clinton's close relationship with billionaire California businessman Ron Burkle, a family friend who has paid him about $15 million since 2002 as an adviser.
Less clear is the link between the former president and Indian-American businessman Vinod Gupta, founder of database vendor InfoUSA, which has been accused of offering call lists to predatory telemarketers. The tax returns show Gupta's company paid Clinton $800,000 in the past two years.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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