My superhuman task this morning; Update: The Clintons' "unusual" tax returns

Apparently, I have superpowers of which I’m unaware, at least to the folks at Good Morning America. In explaining the Clinton tax returns, the host of the show explains that the Clintons’ failure to get their tax preparation completed in time this year shows their humanity. Meanwhile, as you’re reading this, the First Mate and I will be undergoing a proctological exam getting our taxes done on time:


As far as the charity goes, the Clintons seem to have mostly relied on the proverb that it begins at home. Our friend at Power Line note that of the $109 million that the Clintons made since leaving the White House, roughly 10% went to charity — almost all of it to the their family foundation [see below for Power Line correction]. The New York Times notes that the foundation only gave away about half of that money — and almost all of it after Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the presidency.

Unlike some others, I am not at all troubled by the Clintons’ earning power in their post-presidency period. Bill earns plenty of money through book royalties and personal appearances, and that’s just the free market at work. I’d prefer that he continue to exploit that earning potential rather than have them return to the White House. However, with $109 million in earnings, I’d say they can afford to hire an accountant to file their taxes on time — and if it’s too difficult for the Clintons to file on time, then perhaps Hillary should be working to simplify a ridiculously Byzantine system so that the rest of us can easily work our way through the annual task, too.

Update: Scott Johnson at Power Line issues this correction:

CORRECTION: In the post above I err in attributing the Clintons’ donations to the William J. Clinton Foundation. As the Times correctly reports and as the Clinton campaign states in the quotes included in the post, the donations were rather to the Clinton Family Foundation. The foundation’s tax returns are available at the link. The beneficiaries are mainly churches, universities, medical research, and a variety of other charities. I regret the error.

Update (AP): A reader passes along a gold nugget:

Several of the older tax returns are signed and dated on the same day. For example, the Clintons’ 2004 and 2005 returns are both signed on October 14, 2007. Today, the campaign explained that several of the tax returns released today were amended, and thus were signed at later dates. Sen. Clinton’s staff blamed the couple’s tax preparers for making several errors.

A campaign spokesman said: “The Clintons amended their returns in 2003, 2004, and 2005. In 2003 the Clintons amended their return because they received a Form 1099-INT after the April 15, 2004 due date of their 2003 income tax returns. In 2004 the Clintons had to amend their filings twice. The first amended return was based on an amended letter from the Blind Trust received after the original return was filed. The second amended return was based on a clerical error that was discovered after the returns were filed. There was a math error in the original return regarding deductions, and when a new tax preparer came on board, he discovered the error and amended the return to correct it. In 2005 the Clintons had to amend their return because certain deductions were omitted from Schedule C because of a clerical error on the part of the Clintons’ accountant. When a new tax preparer came on board, he discovered the error and amended the return to correct it.”

NBC News showed the tax returns to Tom Ochsenschlager, the Vice President of Taxation at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Has been a CPA for three decades, and said all the amended returns and CPA errors stood out. “That’s unusual,” Ochsenschlager said.