Joe Biden, wife made more than $15 million after his vice presidency
Through much of his political career, former Vice President Joe Biden embraced the folksy moniker of “middle-class Joe.”
He’s middle-class no more.
Biden and his wife Jill Biden made more than $15 million since leaving the Obama administration, much of it made through book deals by the former vice president and former second lady after leaving office, according to tax returns and financial disclosure forms released by his campaign Tuesday.
In releasing his tax filings, the Biden campaign took a shot at President Trump, who has yet to release his tax returns.
“Vice President Biden pledged after leaving office that if he were to become a candidate for higher office, he would make available his tax returns, financial interests, and other information that used to be, and should once again become, commonplace among candidates for President of the United States – including the current occupant of that office,” the campaign said in a statement.
Book deals bring millions
The bulk of the Bidens’ income, more than $10 million, came from payments from a memoir, Promise Me, Dad, he wrote after he left office in January 2017. Jill Biden was paid more than $3 million in 2018 for her book, Where the Light Enters. The couple’s total income in 2017 was $11 million and nearly $4.58 million in 2018.
Biden’s income included $776,000 from the University of Pennsylvania for his role as Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor, a job he’s taken unpaid leave from while he runs for the White House. Jill Biden took in slightly more than $90,000 each year for her professorship at Northern Virginia Community College.
The Bidens hold between $500,000 and $1.2 million in cash and have established S-corporations with holdings between $1 million and $5 million, and $500,000 and $1 million.
The former vice president, who is the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, made forty-seven speaking appearances, including 30 of which were a part of the book tour.
All together, his speaking fees totaled $4.29 million. Biden was paid as much as $234,820 for a single speaking engagement, a VIP book tour event, according to his disclosure form.
Jill Biden also collected $700,000 in speaking fees from 18 events, paid to her S-Corporation.
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Biden is hardly alone among Democratic White House hopefuls that hover in 1% territory.
Sen. Bernie Sanders in April released tax returns that showed he and his wife made nearly $1.2 million in 2017 and $1.1 million in 2016, largely as the result of proceeds from his bestselling 2018 Where We Go From Here, published in 2018. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard Law professor, has between $4.7 million and $10.8 million in assets, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis.
And the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 race is billionaire entrepreneur Tom Steyer, who has vowed to spend a sizable chunk of his own money on his run for the White House.
Contrast to the time in the Senate
During his time in Senate, Biden ranked among the poorest of his colleagues.
According to financial disclosure forms submitted in 2008, Biden’s $165,200 salary as a senator in 2007 was supplemented with $20,500 he earned as an adjunct professor at Widener University Law School and a $112,500 advance he received from Random House for his book, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics.
By 2014, he had a negative net worth of $947,000, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. The Bidens reported a combined income of $396,000 in 2016, his final full year serving the Obama administration. He’s spent more than 40 years in elected office.
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Biden has said he was anxious about supporting his family during his second term as vice president.
He’s recalled in interviews that President Obama offered to give him money when he mentioned that he and Jill Biden were pondering selling their Delaware home to help support his son Beau’s family after their son had suffered a stroke.
Beau Biden, who served as Delaware’s attorney general, managed to recover from the stroke, but would die in May 2015 after struggling with brain cancer.
The former vice president has played up his middle-class roots campaigning for himself and other Democrats since leaving office.
“I know I’m called middle class Joe,” Biden intoned at an October campaign event for a congressional candidate in Kentucky. “It’s not meant to be a compliment, it means I’m not sophisticated. But I know what made this country what it is: ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”