WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore and his wife Tipper contributed about $15,000 to charities in 1999--the same as in the previous year--two years after Gore earned the sobriquet of "Vice President Scrooge" for his meager giving of $353.
Although the Gores declined to disclose the charities publicly, the White House said in releasing their 1999 tax returns that the contributions went to religious organizations, educational institutions, public service entities and groups set up to combat diseases.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday April 19, 2000 Home Edition Part A Part A Page 3 Metro Desk 2 inches; 44 words Type of Material: Correction
Gore income--In a story Saturday on Vice President Al Gore's tax returns, The Times incorrectly reported that the vice president and his wife had an adjusted gross income in 1998 of $504,109 and paid $89,951 in federal taxes. They actually earned $224,132 that year and paid $50,956, or 22.7%, in federal income taxes.
The returns showed that the Gores had an adjusted gross income of $240,930 in 1999--$175,400 of it from his salary as vice president--and paid $62,051, or almost 26%, in federal income taxes. By comparison, they earned $504,109 in 1998 and paid $89,951 in taxes.
The return of President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton showed an adjusted gross income of $416,039 for 1999--about $200,000 of which came from his salary--and paid $92,104, or about 22%, in federal income taxes, according to the returns. The Clintons reported $39,200 in contributions to charities.
Besides the president's salary, the Clintons' income included interest and dividend income, capital gains--profits from the sale of stocks or other assets--from a blind trust and royalties from Hillary Clinton's book, "It Takes a Village," which she gives to charity.
In 1998, the Clintons had an adjusted gross income of $504,109 and paid $89,951--or about 17%--in federal income taxes, while contributing $161,938 to charities. One reason their contributions went down in 1999 was that sales of one of the first lady's books declined.
This year's returns showed that the Clintons made an overpayment on their taxes of $2,278 during 1999, and opted to apply it to their income taxes for the year 2000.
Separately, Texas Gov. George W. Bush said through a spokeswoman that he will seek an extension for filing his income tax return because he still has not received the information he needs from a blind trust that manages his assets. Aides said that he does this every year.
Bush spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said that the GOP presidential candidate will make an estimated-tax payment on Monday to cover any money he may owe the government and also will report how much money he gave to charity in 1999. He will release his tax returns when they are filed.
Bush earns $115,345 a year as governor of Texas and under state law has had to forgo his regular salary on days he has campaigned out of state. Last May, he reported that he owned more than $7 million in U.S. Treasury notes and had a blind trust worth more than $1 million.
Bush said that he paid $3.77 million in federal income taxes last year on an estimated 1998 income of $18.4 million, but most of that came from the sale of the Texas Rangers baseball team, in which he had been a managing partner before his 1994 election as governor.
Many political figures keep their assets in blind trusts to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. Such entities invest a politician's money without telling the beneficiary where.
Neither the president nor any political candidate is required to make federal income-tax returns public but the practice has become a tradition in recent years. The returns provide a general outline of income and deductions but do not always itemize charitable donations.
The Gores made headlines--and drew withering criticism--in 1998 when their tax returns showed that they had contributed only $353 to charities in the previous year, despite an adjusted gross income of $197,729.
Surprisingly, given the vice president's interest in conservation, the White House statement about his charitable contributions did not mention any donations to environmental groups.
The vice president earned $13,989 from writing and, together with his wife, netted $29,260 in long-term capital gains. They also received about $20,204 from various real estate investments.