WASHINGTON—Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden earned $15.6 million in the two years after he left the Obama administration, according to newly released financial documents.
The former vice president, who has built his nearly five-decade political career as an advocate for middle-class families, made millions of dollars through paid speaking engagements, sales of his 2017 book and his role as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Biden’s campaign released personal financial-disclosure forms as well as federal and state income-tax returns filed by the candidate and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, for 2016 through 2018.
The former vice president earned more than $11 million in 2017, most of which came from speaking fees and payments for Mr. Biden’s book, “Promise Me, Dad,” and Dr. Jill Biden’s book, “Where the Light Enters.”
Mr. Biden’s financial disclosure listed 49 speaking engagements that commanded fees ranging from $8,040 for a November 2017 appearance at a Miami book fair to $234,820 for a 2017 “VIP experience” as part of his book tour. The most recent honorarium he noted receiving was for $134,933 on Jan. 28, 2019, paid by the Performing Arts Center Authority in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In addition, Mr. Biden reported almost $2.8 million in business income from speaking and writing engagements, paid through his CelticCapri Corp. The Delaware-based company, named for the Bidens’ Secret Service code names, also paid Mr. Biden a $300,000 salary in 2018, according to his tax returns.
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Mr. Biden and his Democratic rivals have been releasing their tax returns, continuing a tradition of voluntary disclosure that President Trump broke during the 2016 campaign. Mr. Trump hasn’t released any of his tax returns, and his administration hasrefused to turn them overto House Democrats, who have invoked their statutory power to obtain anyone’s returns. A federal judge is now consideringthe lawmakers’ lawsuit against the Treasury Department.
Dr. Biden reported 18 speaking engagements in the personal financial disclosure. Most of those fees were about $36,000 apiece.
Mr. Biden’s tax returns showed that his earnings of $15.6 million in 2017 and 2018 were more than three times his family’s combined income from 2004 through 2016. The couple paid a 33% federal tax rate in 2018 and a 34% tax rate in 2017.
The documents show Mr. Biden earned $371,159 in 2017 and $405,368 in 2018 as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, while Dr. Biden earned $90,132 in 2017 and $94,705 in 2018 as a professor at Northern Virginia Community College.
The Bidensamended their 2018 tax returnthis week to remove a $25,000 contribution to a British charity that isn’t deductible in the U.S.
In 2018, the Bidens made nearly $276,000 in charitable contributions, the largest being $100,000 to the Delaware Center for Justice, which advocates on prisoners’ conditions and alternatives to incarceration. They also donated $25,000 to the International Association of Firefighters Foundation, a union that endorsed Mr. Biden shortly after he announced his campaign.
The Bidens donated more than $1 million to charity in 2017, their peak earning year. Donations included $180,000 to the United Jewish Federation of Chicago, $160,000 to the Kingswood Community Center, $100,000 to Mr. Biden’s own foundation and $150,000 to the foundation named for his late son, Beau Biden, which works on domestic violence and child welfare issues.
They alsoamended their 2017 tax returnthis week to make several changes. Among them: The Bidens told the Internal Revenue Service that the former vice president didn’t appear to receive a W-2 from the federal government for the three weeks in 2017 when he was a federal worker and was paid $12,963.
—Richard Rubin contributed to this article.
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