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Biden Releases His Tax Returns

Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), poses for a photo during a campaign stop in Nashua, N.H., Sept. 10, 2008.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

By Matthew Mosk
Sen. Joseph Biden released 10 years of his tax returns this morning, putting on display the earnings that have made him one of the less wealthy members of the U.S. Senate and putting fresh pressure on his Republican counterpart to release her tax records.

Biden's filings show a remarkable consistency to his earnings over the past 10 years. He and wife Jill Biden reported earning a combined $206,969 in 1999 -- and $248,754 in 2007 -- largely from his Senate salary and from both of their teaching careers.

The earnings would make him well-off by most standards, but in the U.S. Senate, he is the poorest of the lot, according to a review of financial disclosures by the Center for Responsive Politics. The wealthiest member is last cycle's Democratic nominee for president, Sen. John F. Kerry, who had a maximum net worth of $313,990,127, according to the review.

The release comes as reporters have been submitting requests to the Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for her returns. Palin has been asked to disclose her returns in part to determine whether she paid taxes on the $16,951 in per diem payments she received for working out of her home in Wasilla.

Biden spokesman David Wade said the public disclosures were made to display the transparency that Biden and running mate Barack Obama bring to the campaign trail.

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

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 12, 2008; 11:35 AM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , Joe Biden , Sarah Palin , The Green Zone  
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Next: Rendell Touts Obama's Tax Cuts in Pa.


Guess those plugs exhausted all of Joe's discretionary income.

Posted by: RalphR | September 15, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Senator Biden gives less then 1/10 of 1% to charity.

It looks like the most he has given is 300 dollars within one year.

A lot of People make a lot less then good old generous Joe Biden and give a lot more then 300 dollars!!!

Posted by: yojoe | September 15, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

We have a saying for guys like Senator Joe Biden in Texas “All hat no cattle”. Senator Biden tax returns tell me that probably spends more than he makes. The clue is No dividends, capital gains and very little interest income on his tax returns for 10 years. All his money is going to servicing his debt on his house which looks to be a variable rate or the Senator has a HELOC that he is tapping looking at the interest paid:

• 1998 $52,065
• 1999 $35,875
• 2000 $38,123
• 2001 $38,753
• 2002 $37,373
• 2003 $39,790
• 2004 $32,036
• 2005 $35,629
• 2006 $38,724
• 2007 $38,712

Most home loans the interest goes down the following year because you owe less were the Senator’s jumps all around with some pretty big swings. Senator Joe Biden sucks with his own money why would you want to vote for him as VP. Senator Obama’s tax returns also show someone that isn’t very good with his own money ie lots money being spent on house and very little in savings. Senator Obama’s tax returns also show very little dividends, capital gains and interest income on his tax returns for 10 years for the amount of money he and his wife made

Posted by: TXAggie93 | September 13, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Not all charitable donations are tax deductible. So it is quite possible Biden made far more in donations that aren't claimed because they aren't deductible.

Posted by: Brad | September 13, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

My pets gave more to charity over the last 10 years than Mr. Bidens' average.

HOW pathetic is that??

Remember to spay and neuter your pets, or the women on " The View" your choice.

Posted by: Bob Barker | September 12, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Joe has probably plagerized his tax returns like he steals every idea he's every had, errr... like every idea OTHERS have had.

Posted by: vince foster | September 12, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Joe Biden is such a terrific addition to this ticket, a down-to-earth guy whose income hasn't changed in ten years. I wish he got more coverage but I'm sure that time will come. I have enjoyed reading the stories about his tax return here and elsewhere just so I could see some pictures and stories about his campaigning! I'd like to see a Wapo slideshow of some of his appearances, as they do with others.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | September 12, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Biden Gave Average of $369 Annually to Charity in Last Decade

But fear not silly little libs, Obama more than offsets this with his $50,000 plus donations to Rev. Jeremiah (GD the USA) holy church of inclusion in the last couple of years

boy, it's great being a lib

Posted by: deport_the_libs | September 12, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

$995.00 in gifts to charity last year!

That is pitiful!!

Joe Biden should hang his head in shame.

Posted by: Joe Jankovic | September 12, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

lol its okay kids, whoopie goldberg just made it completely transparent "do you want us to be slaves again?" posed to john mccain.

she just lost the election for obama, he had a chance when it was under the rug, cus this election had not gone to the lowest depth it could, being an all out race war not about issues.

well if it wasnt already now the bradley factor is in full affect and the gloves are off, having seen the election for what its worth, people will quickly be flying away from obama.

how distasteful.

Posted by: dale | September 12, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering / Sarah Plain & False

Please feel free to prove me wrong and/or a blasphemer.

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Cut and pasted from the IRS website (link below)

When are per diem payments taxable?
Payments will be taxable to the employee when any of these situations are true:
· No expense report is filed with the employer,
· The expense report filed does not include the date, time, place, amount and business purpose of the expense,
· A flat amount is given to the employee and no expense report is required, or
· Per diem is paid in excess of the allowable standard federal rate.
These per diem payments listed above would be treated as wages and employment taxes are due from the employer.

So without knowing what Governor Yahoo received from the state of Alaska or what she filed with the state of Alaska, no one can say with any certainty if her per diem is taxable. Perhaps a more appropriate question would be to ask her to prove that the per diem was not taxable.

In my company per diem was paid as a flat daily rate and we did not require the employee to file an expense report; so, consistent with the IRS guidance above (3rd bullet point), our employees were then taxed on their per diem.

To the poster Karen @1:00, as governor of a state, Palin is not a federal employee, so your comparison to military per diem is an apples & oragnes comparison. The state of Alaska may have differnt policies regarding expense reporting than the U.S. military. The applicable tax law in Palin's case would judge if her work at the remote, temporary work site (Anchorage) continues for longer than one year (expected since she has a four year term), or in any other way violates IRS conditions for tax-exempt status of per diem. If so, then all per diem payments associated with her work at the remote, temporary work site become taxable as ordinary income.

Posted by: The Franchise | September 12, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

JakeD gets an "F"

Posted by: Sarah Plain & False | September 12, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, do you have a life? How about a job that allows you to educate yourself rather than leaving you with time to post your mindless squawkings everywhere. The GOP is a cult.

Posted by: Sarah Plain & False | September 12, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Two thoughts regarding Biden's tax return.

What the public really should see is the tax returns of his son, "the lobbyist".

He only made $990.00 in charitable donations last year.
If he desire to increase this paltry figure I believe he should ask Obama for the addresses of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Father Michael Pfleger.

Posted by: Mike H | September 12, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

JakeD writes:
"I am always right"

No, JakeD. Never admitting you're wrong is not the same as always being right. Only the Lord is always right, blasphemer.

Posted by: Just wondering | September 12, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse


I am always right -- I don't think you are that concerned about Track's saftey though by spamming every thread -- you have now "published" this info more than Gov. Palin ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

You are right, but it has been in a dozens of news papers that get a lot for exposure then this. Point is, this event had been planed months in advance but should have been completely canceled once her son took on a different status. Palin is just a "jack off" who doesn't have a clue and that is a fact people are going to have to admit. Not even about the most basic issues.


Aren't YOU "publishing" the info too?

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 12:55 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

If you would like to see Biden's 93 page travel expenses and reimbursement (fancy term for per diem), you won't find it at WaPo, but you can get it from non-partisan media sources. As Biden makes in excess of $165,000 plus expenses and official travel, he has earned hundreds of thousands more than Palin. Where is the scrutiny of Biden? Brain aneurysms? Medical records? 5 Draft Deferrals? A 'Major' illness that got him a 5th and final draft deferral? Notice how differently the WaPo is treating Biden than they treated Cheney and are treating Palin.

The American People are lashing out at the media bias.

Posted by: Karen | September 12, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Per diem is not taxable. The federal government does not tax per diem when government workers travel. As a 22 year military service member, per diem has never been taxable. You are given a set amount for food away from your duty station for each day.

Posted by: Karen | September 12, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse


Aren't YOU "publishing" the info too?

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Ever wonder why Mccain never talks about his son in Iraq? Not because he is being humble, it is because you never identify a solider and who they are deployed with and where. For prominent people like politicians it is even more important. It puts everyone in danger who a around that person. You saw the same thing with the prince in Britain they had to actually bring him home.

So now we had this ditz Palin doing a public event around her some and his whole group. Even publishing this:

Private 1st Class Track Palin, is being deployed with 4,000 soldiers of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division.

This woman doesn't even no the most basic thing about being in command of anything. So now that everyone has her sons picture and knows where he is going, what happens if we have a nice video of him having his head cut off on camera? Or his whole squad get killed as they are trying to kill or capture him? Think she will be sorry for being so stupid? I actually don't know what to say, this is just short of treason it is so stupid. What next, she is going to tell us where Mccains son is? Maybe some nice infor on our troop strengths and where they are. Good going Palin you pig, you don't have a F'n clue.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse


"... quite complaining that your canidate is anything but transparent"?

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The Palins annual income is actually higher than the Bidens. What the post, a cosisitently concervative newspaper, is asking is whether or not she paid taxes on everything and whether or not she paid for everything or has a tax record like Stevens. If you are going to state that things are already online, porvide a URL or quite complaining that your canidate is anything but transparent.

Posted by: Sam | September 12, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

She has, although small time, shady business deals she would not like public. Her failes car wash where they stiffed creditors and didn't pay licenses. Her corporation was involuntary dissolved for not filing proper paper work and paying fees due. Although small time, she is little more the a small time local crooked politician you will find in many small towns around this country. Little local petty slim-balls politicians. Want to know what she is? When you say Alaska, just think Appalachia. She is backwoods trash.

Palin's financial disclosure statements are already on-line, and I am sure her tax returns will be released as well. Don't be surprised if the Palins made LESS than the Bidens.

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 11:52 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. I'm confused by the reference to the tax implications of Palin's per diem expenses (all 16k of them), but there's no mention of the same implications for the THOUSANDS of free Amtrak trips that Joe has taken over his 30+ years in the Senate while commuting between DE and DC. How odd that the Post would leave that out.

(Oh wait, no it isn't.)

Posted by: Acela! | September 12, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Palin charged the tax payers for her "Brazilian wax"?

Well, at least they can't say she will be another "BUSH" in the white house, she likes that nice smooth feel.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Should have done this earlier. Biden's relative lack of wealth will be refreshing to voters.

Posted by: mp | September 12, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Palin's financial disclosure statements are already on-line, and I am sure her tax returns will be released as well. Don't be surprised if the Palins made LESS than the Bidens.

Posted by: JakeD | September 12, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

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