Make us your home page

Now voters get to debate candidates' tax returns

After the barrage of debates and media coverage, we still can't seem to catch a clear glimpse into the hearts of presidential candidates John McCain, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

So let's peek instead at their money via their just-filed federal tax returns. Their returns may shed no more clarifying light into the trio's true nature, but hey, it can't hurt to take a different take on the people vying to lead a powerful country confronted with some enormous issues.

John McCain: The Republican senator from Arizona has not been the most forthcoming in disclosing his household income. But Friday, he released 2007 and 2006 federal tax returns — just his, not the returns (kept separate by a prenuptial agreement) of his fabulously richer wife.

Last year's return shows personal wages of just under $300,000, book royalties from such works as Faith of My Fathers (money said to go to charity), Social Security (at 71, he's been eligible for years), $17,700 in alimony he paid out to his first wife … and almost nothing from investments in either interest or dividends. Whatever investments the couple may privately enjoy clearly are not in his name and not on his return.

Which brings us to Cindy, McCain's wife since 1980, who inherited a multimillion-dollar business in Phoenix called Hensley that brags of a "60 percent" market share. Of what? Beer. It's the third-largest Anheuser-Busch wholesaler in the nation — which likely means a money machine.

Bottom line? Seeing McCain's 1040 is helpful, but it's not much more than grabbing the tail of a financial elephant and trying to guess the size of the beast.

McCain's (excluding his wife's) total taxes in 2007: $118,660.

Barack Obama: The Illinois senator pulled in $157,102 in salary while his wife added $103,633 as a hospital administrator at the University of Chicago. What provided the big leap in joint household income to $4.2-million last year was Obama's royalties from his books. That's about $1-million more than the couple made in 2006. In investments, the couple had a modest $1,400 in interest, yet reported no dividends.

The Obama household's charitable contributions came to $240,370 last year. Of that, $26,270 went to the Chicago parish of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the senator's controversial pastor.

Obama's 2007 taxes:


Hillary Clinton: Clinton tax returns are really a tale about how many millions Bill Clinton has managed to rack up in speaking and "advisory" fees since he left the White House in 2000 — a year when the couple reported adjusted gross income of just $357,026. The 2007 return is a bit higher: $20.4-million.

From 2000 through 2007, here are some cumulative Clinton stats. Gross income: $109-million, made up of Hillary's Senate salary ($1-million) and book income ($10.5-million), plus Bill's income from speeches ($52-million), books ($29.6-million), fees ($15.5-million) from Yucaipa Global Holdings (supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle's investment fund) and presidential pension ($1-million).

Clinton's 2007 taxes — tops

of the three: $5.1-million.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at

Now voters get to debate candidates' tax returns 04/19/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 20, 2008 11:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rick Scott appoints 'my friend,' Jimmy Patronis, as Florida CFO

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Monday picked close friend and supporter Jimmy Patronis to be Florida's next chief financial officer, a lucrative prize for loyalty that casts new light on Patronis' pro-business votes as a legislator and his support for higher electricity costs as a regulator.

    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches


    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  4. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.

  5. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]