Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) came under fire after his tax returns show that he donated less than one-third of one percent of his income to charity in 2017, despite being a supporter of many redistributive policies.
O’Rourke joined several other Democrats in releasing his tax returns from the past several years in preparation for their presidential bid against President Donald Trump — who broke the tradition of releasing the documents to the public during his 2016 election bid.
According to his 2017 tax return, O’Rourke and his wife Amy earned $370,412, but they donated just $1,166 — or just 0.31 percent — of their income to charities. A report in the Washington Post shows his charitable giving was well below that of his Democratic primary competitors.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Governor Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) were the most giving candidates in the race, donating 5.5 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Senator Bernie Sanders was in the middle of the pack, donating 3.4 percent of his income. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) all donated two percent or less of their income.
Beyond his limited charitable contributions, O’Rourke may have underpaid his taxes in 2013 and 2014. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the O’Rourkes may have misreported their medical expenses, leading to a combined shortcoming of $4,000 over the two years.
A member of O’Rourke’s team responded to the report, saying, “After becoming aware of this error, the accounting firm that prepared the filings was immediately informed and will file an amendment as appropriate.”
The last time Biden released his tax returns, he too faced criticisms in 2008 after his returns revealed he and his wife had donated an average of less than $370 per year.
Since taking office, President Trump has followed through on his commitment to donate his entire presidential salary to other government departments, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Small Business Administration.