Democratic presidential candidate Gillibrand releases tax returns in challenge to rivals

By Amanda Becker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand‘s presidential campaign on Wednesday released her tax returns for the years 2007 through 2018, offering the most comprehensive look to date at the finances of a 2020 White House candidate’s finances, as she called on her rivals to do the same.

Gillibrand reported about $218,000 in income for the tax year 2018, including $167,634 from her Senate salary and $50,000 from a book deal that was reported as business income, the tax filing shows. Gillibrand’s husband, who in previous years had worked as a financial consultant, reported no income in 2018.

The New York senator paid $29,170 in federal taxes – an effective tax rate of 13.6 percent – and an additional $12,523 in state taxes, according to the 2018 return.

“I want voters to know that I’m beholden to no one, that my values are not for sale and that I’m working only for you,” Gillibrand said in a video released by her campaign.

“Join me in calling on every presidential candidate to disclose their taxes, this is what transparency and accountability is all about.”

Gillibrand’s release of tax filings is a contrast with President Donald Trump, who was the first modern U.S. president not to release his tax returns to the public. Gillibrand, who formally joined the presidential race on March 17, gave a fiery speech on Sunday in which she called Trump a “coward” who “is tearing apart the moral fabric of this country.”

The release of her tax documents indicates Gillibrand, 52, likely will make transparency a theme of her campaign. She is trying to build momentum among a group of more than 15 announced and potential candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, including five other senators and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to join the race soon.

Gillibrand, along with other candidates such as Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, is trying to position herself as a progressive in race, with many making anti-corruption efforts and getting big money out of politics central to their campaigns.

Warren previously released her tax returns for 2007 through 2017 but not her 2018 filing, which is not due to the Internal Revenue Service until April 15. Sanders, who released one annual tax filing during his 2016 presidential primary campaign, said last month that he will soon release more filings but they “will bore you to death.”

After taking control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 elections, Democrats passed a bill that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns. It has not been voted on by the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.

(Reporting By Amanda Becker; Editing by Bill Trott)