Patricia A. O'Malley
Social Policy & Programs Consulting ~ Community Matters
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Six Presidential Candidates Listed The Wrong Salaries On Their Tax Returns
Something odd is happening.
April 16, 2019
For many years, it’s been traditional – but not required – for political candidates to release their tax returns to the public.
It’s become an even bigger issue since Donald Trump has refused to release his returns.
I started browsing through some of them, and found some strange stuff.
All regular Senators and House members earn the same amount – $174,000 per year.
House and Senate leaders earn $193,400. Speaker of the House earns $223,500.
Those numbers haven’t changed in ten years.
Members of Congress have not had a raise since 2009.
Five presidential candidates are currently members of Congress and earn the same annual salary – $174,000.
But they all listed different salaries on their tax returns. And they’re all wrong.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee also listed his salary wrong on his return.
These are the candidates who currently serve in public office, and whose salaries are verifiable.
I looked only at Line 1 on the 1040 – Salaries. And Looked only at 2018 returns.
I do not want to spend my life poring over every line of dozens of tax returns.
You have to look deep into the returns’ schedules and statements to find the candidates’ salaries listed separately from their spouses’ salaries. Here are the details.
The Democratic Senator from New York released twelve years of returns jointly with her husband, Jonathan Gillibrand. She listed her salary as $167,634.
The Democratic Senator from California released fifteen years of returns jointly with her husband, Douglas Emhoff.
I can’t find copies online to read, but according to CNN, “Harris’ returns show she earned $157,352 as a US senator.”
The Democratic Senator from Minnesota released thirteen years of returns with her husband John Bessler.
She listed her salary as $132,544.
The Independent Senator from Vermont released ten years of returns jointly with his wife, Jane Sanders.
The returns from 2014 to 2018 list salaries ranging from $133,873 (2018) to $156,441 (2014).
The Democratic Senator from Massachusetts released eleven years of returns jointly with her husband, Bruce Mann.
She lists her Senate salary as $176,280. I have no idea where that came from.
The Democratic Governor of Washington filed a joint return with his wife, Trudi Inslee.
The Washington State website lists the Governor’s salary as $171,898. Inslee listed his salary as $162,870.
For the members of Congress, that’s a range from $132,544 to $176,280 – a difference of $43,736.
And yet, they all earn the same paycheck. This is disturbing.
The federal government’s Office of Personnel Management issues W2 forms to all federal employees, including members of Congress. Since all of their salaries are the same, what happened?
What is wrong with these people?
The following candidates have not released tax returns yet.
Maybe they will. Maybe not.
Cory Booker. Democratic Senator from New Jersey.
Pete Buttigieg, Democratic Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Earns a salary $104,847 according to a local TV station. He hasn’t released his tax returns.
Tim Ryan, Democratic House Representative from Ohio.
I can’t find a campaign website or any mention of tax returns.
Eric Swalwell, Democratic House Representative from California.
For the record, I’m a lifelong progressive Democrat and favor most of the positions of most of these candidates.
I am not picking on Democrats. But I am very disappointed in them.
Two Republicans have announced their candidacies for president in 2020 – Donald Trump and William Weld. Neither has released his returns.
Again, I am referring ONLY to line 1 - Salaries. That figure should be the same for all candidates.
But it isn't. Why not?
And that wrong number makes all the other calculations wrong, including the taxes owed.
This is fraud.
I was an IRS-trained tax preparer for eight years. I know how to read a 1040.
I’ve posted this article on each candidate’s Facebook page, asking why their returns are wrong.
Maybe I’ll get replies. Maybe not.
I just thought you’d like to know.
For More Information
The 2020 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet
Congressional Salaries and Allowances: In Brief