September 12th, 2008
06:13 PM ET
3 years ago

Biden tax returns revealed

Sen. Biden campaigned in St. Louis earlier this week.
Sen. Biden campaigned in St. Louis earlier this week.

(CNN) - Joe Biden's newly released tax returns appear to confirm what the Democratic VP candidate has long contended - he is among the poorest U.S. senators currently serving.

At least half the nation’s senators are millionaires. But Biden and his wife Jill earned a relatively small $320,000 in 2006, paying about $66,000 in taxes. Over the last 10 years Biden and his wife earned just shy of $2.5 million - an average income of roughly $245,000 per year.

The Obama campaign released the 10 years worth of documents earlier Friday, in part to pressure the McCain campaign to do the same with Sarah Palin and her husband Todd's returns.

“The last eight years have brought Americans' faith in their government to its lowest point in over thirty years," Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said. "The only answer is to change the way we do business in Washington. That starts with something as simple as transparency. That's why Senator Biden is releasing his tax returns for the last 10 years."

A McCain aide told CNN Friday the campaign would release Palin's documents, but on their "own timeframe."

The Bidens' returns do not specify the various sources of the income, but the Delaware Democrat earns $165,000 per year as a senator and draws roughly $20,000 annually from his visiting law professorship at Widener University. Jill Biden is a teacher in Delaware and draws a salary of about $66,000. The 2007 tax returns also indicate Biden earned $71,000 in royalties for his book "Promises to Keep."

Biden, who does not hold a second residence in Washington and commutes back to Delaware daily via Amtrak train, often jokes about his relatively poor financial standing on the campaign trail. His modes net worth is also touted by the Obama campaign as a sign Biden has not become a creature of Washington or a fixture on its cocktail circuit.

"I make a good salary, although I am listed as the second-poorest man in this Congress," Biden said in Missouri last week. "I’m not proud of it. I’m not proud of it. But that’s what happens when you get elected when you’re 29 years old."

The newly released tax returns also show the Bidens have given substantially less to charity as a proportion of their income than both Barack Obama and John McCain. In 2007, Biden donated $995 to charitable organizations, or 0.3 percent of his pre-taxed income. That compares to the 5.7 percent of income the Obamas donated to charity last year and the 26 percent John McCain gave away.

As a U.S. senator, Biden released a financial disclosure form earlier this year in which he valued his assets at between $59,000 and $360,000. He also reported liabilities of between $140,000 and $365,000.

"When the last listing came out, they listed my net worth as between 70 and 150,000 dollars and Rush Limbaugh said ‘How can this guy manage our economy, he doesn’t have any money?’" Biden also said at that Missouri campaign stop. "Well, I thought the deal was, when you went to work for the government you weren’t supposed to make money!"


Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (423 Responses)
  1. Brian

    and soon the republican lies will continue

    September 12, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Debby

    Well Joe your sidekick will be taking your pay down another notch with that tax hike he is proposing in your bracket.

    September 12, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. USAF Staff Sergeant

    Nice move!

    You know the Republicans will try to spin this.......

    September 12, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. US Marine

    Sen Joe Biden, I have respect for sir. Let us see if Mccain and Cindy mccain can release just last year income.
    Straight from baghdad i want you and obama to bring us home sir.

    September 12, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Kenn

    great guy.

    September 12, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. mitchell

    a regular joe. much better than the rep. vp pick.

    September 12, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. GRACIE

    Rush Limbaugh said " how can this guy manage our economy, he doesn't have any money?" Isn't that the whole point.

    Sen. Joe Biden responded" Well, I thought the deal was, when you went to work for the government you weren't supposed to make money!""

    Well, Rush Limbaugh just proved to the world that you don't have to be intelligent or have a brain, you just have to RICH. I guess John McCain would fall under that category since he's married to the $100 million dollar Barbie Doll!!!!

    Can you say Moron?

    John McCain was just on The View and they ate him up. He was lying left and right. He claimed Gov. Palin did not take Earmarks while Governor. That has been proven from her own Governor's Office to be not true. She got $259 million in Earmarks as Governor of Alaska last year and another $279 million just this year!!

    Does John McCain even KNOW anything factual about his own VP pick? I mean this old geezer just keeps digging himself deeper and deeper in a whole of pig's manure!!!

    September 12, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  8. Michael

    Transparancy is what we need!!!!

    Haha, the McCain Camp says they will release the Palins returns, but on their own tie frame. YEP, that is expected, they all the time they can get to make the forensic Accounts "Vett" it properly!!!!!

    September 12, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    Hammer McBush on this:

    1) Demand the release of Caribou Barbie's taxes.

    2) McBush on how he is all over the cocktail circuit cavorting with hot young blonde lobbyists!

    Hammer these pathalogical liars for what they are!

    September 12, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. GET REAL.

    Tried to post under the "Obama calls attacks 'lies'" post, but I'll try again, CNN. PLEASE POST:

    Think about the world we live in and tell me whether lies matter or not. People live and breathe on false hope, teenagers (and some adults) are trying to escape what is "real" through drinking, fear drives decisions, and reality seems pretty bleak.

    You tell me... would you rather be living in reality or living a dream? McCain is presenting a dream, but it's more palatable for people who are afraid of Obama or what he might represent. Obama is offering real hope, but he makes it clear that (as a condition to accepting his hope) you have to accept reality. People don't want to.

    You say "wake up, Republicans," and they say "don't bother me, I'm dreaming." Now we're hoping for Obama to slap them hard enough, but he might not do it. I choose reality, as bleak as it may be. But I'm also okay with paying more taxes too (presuming that money doesn't go to waste the way the Republicans have wasted it... see Denver oil drug/sex scandal, All Children Left Behind, Iraq, etc.), so what do I know, right?

    Point in fact: A smaller government that more aggressively legislates morality is ten times more of a "big brother" oligarchy than a big government that's working "for the people."

    September 12, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. CM

    He's an 'elitist' right?

    Contrast that with the oil baron, heiress marrying, GOP headliners who love to throw around titles for others.

    Honestly, how is this even a decision? Half of you'll posting about socialism wouldn't know what it is if it wasn't for wikipedia. And even then you still don't comprehend.

    4 more years of the same or similar policies will dig the US deeper in this hole. if you don't like what Obama does in office then vote him out in 4 years but don't continue the last 8.

    September 12, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. Mary, VA

    Why haven't we seen a CNN Ticker article yet entitled "Palin stumped on Bush Doctrine"???

    Honestly, why isn't this the headline story? It's like the Potato saga…. but pertinent to politics! Palin has never heard of the Bush Doctrine!!!!

    September 12, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. McCain/Palin

    Are you kidding!!! Does Biden really want people to feel sorry for him. In my estimation and everyone I know, he would be considered rich.

    September 12, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Mary, VA

    So, Why haven't we seen a CNN Ticker article yet entitled "Palin stumped on Bush Doctrine"???

    Honestly, why isn't this the headline story? It's like the Potato saga…. but pertinent to politics! Palin has never heard of the Bush Doctrine!!!!

    September 12, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Gloria

    ****Who ever voting for the republican must make more than the Biden's. If not better start saving and shocking up.

    Times will get worse if McCain get in office.

    September 12, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. Sarah Bell

    This is exactly what we need in the White House! Someone who speaks to the people! Someone who understands what the people need and what they're going through. Not someone out of touch like John McCain, sitting in one of his 10 homes shining his 500 dollar shoes

    September 12, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. Kim

    If Biden is the second poorest man in Congress than he is one of the Most Honest men in Congress. And he married for love and not fortune.

    September 12, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Danielle, TX

    That Biden, he's such and elitist.

    September 12, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Jason

    Step up Palin. Come on.

    September 12, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. Lucy Windy Chicago, IL

    Where is Sarah Palin's tax return? Or she to busy with her problems in Alaska or giving angry interviews. Body language is more powerful than the spoken word.

    September 12, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Kathy

    America will be better off with Senator Joe Biden as Vice President and then President in 8 years.
    We need honesty, leadership, experience that he brings and intelligence with good judgement. Obama/Biden are just that.

    September 12, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Johanna not voting GOP

    Palin's tax returns will be released on a holiday, I bet you!!!!

    Between now and November 4th it will probably come out on a Sunday or Columbus Day...

    September 12, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Andrew

    The fact that the McCain campaign would release Palin's on "their own timetable" makes me think they're probably going to fix it so that it makes her look good.

    September 12, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Jason, OH

    A man of the People and a people's amongst his Man.

    Nuff said.

    September 12, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Smart People for McCain/Palin '08

    How long before Joe "Steelworker" Biden withdraws for "personal reasons" so that the now desperate Obama can have his "mommy" Hillary come bail him out and take over the VP slot.

    The Dems are already laying the groundwork for this scenario!

    September 12, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17