September 12th, 2008
06:13 PM ET
2 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. ProudDemocrat

    Now time for wolve killer to release her tax returns, all the money she got from the bridge to nowhere, I can not wait to see it, she might beat mccain 100Milliion and the ten houses that he have.

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

    CNN's left wing bias is appalling.

    September 12, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Levar Patterson

    Geeze... Joe do you need a contribution or something? Are you hungry? YOU ARE POOR......... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....

    Men this POOR should not be elected to serve as Vice President!!!!

    Yours Truly,

    Sarah Palin

    September 12, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Abby

    An honorable man who has not used his position for monetary gain.

    Obama/Biden Honesty is a vertue!

    September 12, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. chitowngal07

    Yeah, yeah, yeah! It's still more than the average "Joe" has, cry me a river with the "I'm poor" stuff.

    September 12, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Megan

    Aww humble Joe. We Love You!!!!

    September 12, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    WOW......... HE DOES SEEM LIKE A REGULAR GUY COMPARED TO MONEY-BAGS-MCCAIN!

    In the end we need to know how they will solve our MOUNTAIN of problems! How the candidates will move our Nation forward! What they earned does not matter to me.

    I want to know how Palin, who has NEVER met a foreign leader, will deal with them?

    And I was THRILLED that McCain was grilled on The View today! BRAVO TO BARBARA & JOY!

    MCCAIN WAS EITHER HAVING ........ANOTHER..........SENIOR MOMENT........ OR WAS LYING........WHEN HE TOLD THE "VIEW" THAT PALIN......HAD ...........NEVER...........ASKED............FOR ......EAR MARKS!

    AP IS REPORTING THAT GOV. PALIN HAS REQUESTED .........THIS .......YEAR.........ALONE.........$200 MILLION........ IN EARMARKS!

    SO MUCH FOR CHANGE AND REFORM FROM THE GOP!

    September 12, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  8. lol election

    and people call the democratic ticket elitist?

    Here we got million dollar mccain with more houses than he can keep track of, Palin who's married to a big oil tycoon who spends most of his work days playing on a snow mobile. Here she charges the state for private flights back to her home town on a daily basis while Biden takes Amtrack.

    yea........... those democrats sure are snobbish and elitist compared to those humble every day cocktail dinner party republicans

    NOT!!!!

    September 12, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. Boisepoet

    A McCain aide told CNN Friday the campaign would release Palin's documents, but on their "own timeframe."
    I'm betting 2010 is what they have in mind.
    If Palin is so much a reformer, which takes transparency in gov't, why has she obstructed the investigation into her own possible abuses of power?

    September 12, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. cecil

    Sen. Joe Biden faces a paradox: He offers the most unfiltered contact with the media of any of the big four. But he's the least likely to be covered.

    Because The Media Are Tabloid Peranas
    .
    They Feed On Lies.

    All They Really Like Is;p

    Sex, Lies And Video Tapes

    September 12, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. So...

    This shows that he's very honest and is willing to show Americans that he have nothing to hide... So we are still waiting for Sarah Palin to show hers...

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

    Who cares how much he makes. It's all government pay. with no responsiblities for 30 plus years.

    September 12, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Listen Up...

    I LOVE YOU JOE B!

    September 12, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Jeff from VA

    Thanks for the transparency Joe!

    Walk that walk.

    September 12, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Will

    Give 'em hell, Joe. That's real America.

    CNN PRINT THIS!!!!

    September 12, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Billy

    If Biden's not in it for the money, could he be... oh my god, is it possible... actually in it because he loves his country?

    Obama picked a good guy, even if he does gaffe now and then.

    September 12, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Tom T.

    I'm surprised that CNN does not mention that the financial disclosure does not include his house. Biden owns a home in Delaware worth $2.5 million, on which there is a $700,000 mortgage.

    September 12, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Scott NYC Independent

    Lets see how ready Palin is now. Lets see what she's really been doing up there away from the mainland.........

    John McCain said that his negative attack ads are the result of Barack Obama's refusal to have town hall meetings with him. Why hasn't any of the news media questioned McCain and asked him to explain that in detail. I get the impression he is saying if he doesn't do what I want him to do I will lie, deceive and make his life a living hell to the best of my ability.

    Very Presidential

    September 12, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Susan, Pennsylvania

    I love Joe Biden.

    Any other candidate care to post their tax returns on a website?

    What about military records?

    Spousal tax returns?

    Ok....got any lipstick?

    September 12, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. Jim

    Real charitable guy he is!!

    September 12, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Amber

    I think it is no one's business how much money he makes and the same goes for McCain and is spouse

    September 12, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Brad

    To be honest, I really don't care how much any of these politicians, or anyone for that matter, make in a year. In America, it's okay to be wealthy and earn as much as you can. It gives people a motivator. It drives competition in our market-based economy. Then you have Barack Obama, who wants to count how many houses you own and give some of them away if he feels it's too excessive.

    Keep socialism out of America!

    September 12, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Sarah.....and my last name isn't Palin!

    Release Palin's taxes on their own timeframe???... I think he meant after they review them for the FIRST time.....There are only 55 days left. There isn't any time left.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 12, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Joe in MN

    You're a good man Biden.

    September 12, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. lea

    Joe Biden is my kinda guy. He's one of us. I can hardly wait to for the Palin's to release their tax returns. Why shouldn't she be treated like everyone else. The American people need to learn as much as they can about her so they can make an informed decision.
    This has nothnig to do with sexism, and by the way I'm a middleaged white woman who has been backing Obama since February 2008!

    September 12, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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