Hillary Clinton’s Tax Returns rise questions on 50 Mio.$
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Since Bill and Hillary Clinton left the White House in 2001, they have earned more than $230 million. But in federal filings the Clintons claim they are worth somewhere between $11 million and $53 million. After layering years of disclosures on top of annual tax returns, Forbes estimates their combined net worth at $45 million. Where did all of the money go? No one seems to know, and the Clintons aren’t offering any answers.
From 2001 to 2014 the power couple spent $95 million on taxes. Hillary’s 2008 presidential run cost her $13 million. Their two homes cost a combined $5 million, and the Clintons have given away $22 million to charity. All of this is according to FEC filings, property records and years of tax returns. Add it up and you get $135 million. If the Clintons made $230 million, spent $135 million and have just $45 million left over, what happened to the other $50 million?
“That’s kind of strange,” says Joe Biden’s accountant, Walter Deyhle. “You have to report all of your assets. You have to report assets that are owned by your spouse.”
It seems unlikely that the Clintons could have spent all of it. Over 14 years $50 million averages out to $3.6 million in extra expenses per year, or $9,800 per day.
WHERE COULD THAT much money have disappeared? The Clintons have been speaking around the world for years, and they count millions in travel expenses under their businesses. It is unclear whether they have paid for additional travel expenses out of their own pockets. It seems unlikely, but they could have given it away overseas: Donations to foreign charities are not deductible and would not be listed on tax returns. Billionaires like Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, Lakshmi Mittal of India and Joseph Safra of Brazil have donated to their foundation. Maybe the Clintons are returning the favor?
Or maybe they have given millions to their daughter, Chelsea, although she has plenty of her own money, after working for years and marrying hedge fund manager Marc Mezvinsky in 2010. The problem with all of these ideas is they are merely guesses. The Clintons did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Others were just as perplexed as we were.
“I don’t see how that would be possible,” said Jeff Mussatt, a certified financial planner who helped put together the financial disclosures for Republican presidential candidate Jim Gilmore. “That’s quite a mystery you have on your hands.”
What we do know is that when Bill Clinton ended his presidency, he and Hillary owed millions in legal fees and were essentially broke. On a financial disclosure document Hillary filed after entering the U.S. Senate in 2001, the Clintons declared assets of less than $1.8 million and liabilities of more than $2 million.
“We came out of the White House not only dead broke but indebt,” Hillary told Diane Sawyer on ABClast year. “We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know it was not easy.”
Clinton later said she regretted the comment. If she and Bill were concerned about their finances leaving the White House, they didn’t act like it. In January 2001, they bought a $2.9 million house in Washington, DC, according to property records. Why worry? They had a business plan. Over the next 14 years Bill used his fame as a former President to book appearances all over the world, charging around $225,000 per performance (and sometimes much more). He made millions more writing books, working as an advisor to billionaire financier Ron Burkle and consulting for various businesses.
By the end of 2012 the Clintons had earned $174 million since leaving the White House. Yet in federal filings from April 2013 they claimed assets (excluding “personal use assets” like primary residences) of somewhere between $5.1 million and $25.4 million. That’s much lower than you would expect, even at the high end of that range.
No one knows where all of that money went. Hillary did loan her 2008 presidential campaign $13.2 million and never reported paying herself back, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
But the money never stopped flowing. In 2013, the power couple earned $27.5 million, more than the total compensation for CEOs at many of America’s largest corporations, including Apple, General Motors, and Wal-Mart. They followed that up with a record year in 2014, hauling in $28.3 million. Both the former president and the former secretary of state hit the speaking circuit as they geared up for another presidential campaign.
Reconciling the Clintons’ massive earnings with their minimal assets, Forbes created a financial model to estimate how much the Clintons are worth today. We had to estimate millions in extra spending each year. Without making big guesses about where the money went, we simply could not make the numbers add up. We concluded that the couple has about $40 million in assets, plus the value of their homes, making their net worth an estimated $45 million.
FORBES FIRST REACHED out to Clinton’s office in May. A spokesperson got back and asked how she could help. Over the next four months, Forbes contacted Clinton’s office and foundation more than a dozen times but never got another response.
On July 31, a summer Friday, the Clinton campaign released a load of financial data, including her last eight years of tax returns—and promptly began boasting about its transparency. Hillary’s press secretary Brian Fallon directed a jab at Jeb Bush, who had recently released 33 years of tax filings, and noted that Clinton had released 38 years with the latest batch.
To the Clintons’ credit, it is true that no other presidential candidate has released more tax returns than they have. Since leaving the White House, they have voluntarily released all of their tax returns and have been forced to disclose ranges of their assets and liabilities almost every single year.
But their openness has not extended much further. Hoping for input from Clinton’s camp, after months of unanswered phone calls and unreturned emails, I made an impromptu visit to Hillary’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn Heights, New York. To get to the office, you pass through a set of revolving doors, between wood-paneled walls, over a marble floor, past two security guards and up several stories. I didn’t get any farther than the first security guard.
“You have to come here with an appointment,” he told me. “You could email them.”
“The problem is I have been emailing and calling them for months, and I can’t get anyone to respond.”
He told me there was nothing he could do.
“Nothing?” I asked.
This is an extended version of a story that ran in the October 19, 2015 issue of Forbes Magazine.
Veröffentlicht am 22. April 2016 in Deutschland heute Abend, Tagesthemen und mit Clinton buys Twitter account, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, derblauweisse, Die Clinton buy votes, DNC, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton is a Republican, Hillary Clinton Unelectable, Jörg Selan, Missing 50 Mio.$, Out of The Money machine Hillary Clinton, tax returns, US Primary 2016 getaggt. Setze ein Lesezeichen auf den Permalink. Hinterlasse einen Kommentar.