Sanders makes first release of personal income tax data

After pressure from the media and needling from Hillary Clinton in Thursday’s debate, Bernie Sanders released his full 2014 tax return Friday, reporting more than $200,000 in income.

The majority of the Vermont senator’s family income of $205,617 that year came from his Senate salary of $156,441. He also collected $39,281 in Social Security benefits and $4,982 from a pension from his tenure as Burlington mayor.

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the debate Thursday at the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Photo courtesy of CNN

Sanders’ wife, Jane, collected $4,900 for her service on a Vermont commission addressing radioactive waste disposal. The couple also had small amounts of interest and dividend income.

The Sanders family claimed $56,377 in deductions, which along with exemptions reduced their total taxable income to $140,994.

In total, the couple paid $27,653 of federal income tax for 2014, or 20 percent of their taxable income.

The deductions include $8,350 given to charity, $22,946 of home mortgage interest, $9,666 in state income taxes and $14,843 in real estate taxes.

Sanders had been asked by reporters for weeks to release his tax returns. And during Thursday’s presidential debate in Brooklyn, Clinton took issue with the democratic socialist’s lack of public financial data.

“There is a long-standing expectation that everybody running release their tax returns, and you can go — you can go to my website and see eight years of tax returns,” Clinton said. “And I’ve released 30 years of tax returns.”

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Sanders responded, “Of course we will release our taxes.”

“Jane does our taxes,” Sanders continued. “We’ve been a little bit busy lately. You’ll excuse us. But we will.”

Sanders has now released his tax return for one year, while Clinton’s available data spans decades.

Tax data from 2014 on Clinton’s campaign site shows nearly $23 million in taxable income for her and her husband. Much of that came from consulting, speeches and book deals.

The Clintons paid roughly $10 million in taxes in 2014, an effective federal tax rate of 44 percent.

In the Thursday debate, Sanders asserted that his tax returns are “very boring.”

“No big money from speeches, no major investments. Unfortunately — unfortunately, I remain one of the poorer members of the United States Senate.”

A list compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics estimates Sanders is the 19th poorest of the 100 senators in Congress, with an estimated net worth of $436,013.

The center found that Sanders had 30 financial assets in 2014, including stock and growth accounts that are worth anywhere from $188,027 to $774,000 in all.

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Jasper Craven

About Jasper

Jasper Craven is a freelance reporter for VTDigger.

A Vermont native, he first discovered his love for journalism at the Caledonian Record. He double-majored in print journalism and political science at Boston University, and worked in the Boston Globe’s Metro and Investigative units. While at the Globe he collaborated on Shadow Campus, a three-part investigative series focused on greed and mismanagement in Boston’s off-campus student housing market. The series was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.
He also spent two years at MuckRock, a news site dedicated to investigation and analysis of government documents. 

Craven covered Vermont’s U.S. congressional delegation for the Times Argus in the summer of 2014, and worked as a Metro reporter for the Chicago Tribune before joining the staff of VTDigger from 2015-2017.

Email: [email protected]

Follow Jasper on Twitter @Jasper_Craven

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