Tax day is always a good time to take a look at the tax returns of American political candidates. With the 2020 election cycle just a few months away, I wanted to provide a snapshot of the major candidates for president, their income for 2018 and the amount they gave to charity.
The presidential field is very big this year with many candidates, so I only included those candidates that are polling 5% of the vote or better in (very) early polling. Here’s the list:
Candidate/2018 Income/Total Gifts to Charity/Percent of Income to Charity
Bernie Sanders (D) $566,421 $18,950 3%
Elizabeth Warren (D) $905,742 $50,128 5%
Kamela Harris (D) $1,890,000 $27,259 1%
Pete Buttigieg (D) Did not report
Joe Biden (D) $329,279 (2015) $6,920 (2015) 2%
Beto O’Rourke (D) $370,414 (2017) $1,166 (2017) .003%
President Trump (R) Did not report
A couple of notes regarding the above chart. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has announced that he will be releasing his 2018 tax returns soon. Beto O’Rourke’s figures are from his 2017 return (he has not released his 2018 return yet). Former Vice President Joe Biden has not yet declared his candidacy for the presidency, but is widely expected to do so. His most recent public returns are for 2015.
President Trump has not released his returns and is vowing to fight congressional efforts to subpoena his records. Notably, the Trump Foundation, in a legal settlement with the State of New York is in the process of shutting down the Trump Foundation due to funding irregularities.
By comparison, in 2018, the average American gave $5,508 to charity.