Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday became the first candidate in the 2020 field to release her 2018 tax returns, and in doing so, she pressed the other contenders in the already very crowded field to follow suit.
“For public servants, releasing your tax returns shows the American people that you work only for them, not the powerful,” she said in a statement. “I’m proud to be the first presidential candidate to release my latest returns, and take that critical step towards transparency.”
Other candidates in the Democratic primary, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have previously released some portion of their tax history — Warren more than Sanders — but both have yet to disclose their 2018 filings. (It’s possible candidates have yet to fully complete their 2018 taxes since the filing deadline isn’t until April 15.)
Gillibrand’s recent decision to release her returns is a clear dig at President Donald Trump, who still has not disclosed his returns more than two years into his presidency. Gillibrand is also calling on other Democratic candidates to post their returns, a practice that has long been expected of all presidential candidates; Trump refused to do so in 2016, citing an ongoing audit.
Most major-party nominees have released their tax returns in recent years, giving voters a comprehensive glimpse of candidates’ financial situations, including sources of income and potential conflicts of interest.
Gillibrand has now published her tax returns dating back 10 years. Her most recent ones show that she brought in a little over $217,000 in 2018, including $167,634 from her pay as a senator and $50,000 in business income from a book deal. She paid $29,170 in federal taxes, which comes out to a 13.6 percent effective tax rate. She also paid $12,523 in state taxes. Gillibrand’s husband, Jonathan, whose occupation is listed as “Financial Manager,” did not report income in 2018.
That’s a level of detail voters don’t have about many of the people running for president in 2020, including the incumbent. As Vox’s Emily Stewart reports, House Democrats are gearing up to try to obtain Trump’s tax returns via the Treasury Department. Interest in his returns has been high ever since the 2016 election, given looming questions about how his business dealings have intersected with various actions he’s taken in office.
“The American people should know that their president is beholden to no one but them, and I’m urging all presidential candidates to join me and disclose at least ten years of their taxes, which will strengthen our ability to beat President Trump,” Gillibrand added in a statement.