Democrat presidential hopeful Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke responded to criticism of low charitable donations by claiming he just didn’t report them all on his taxes.
The failed 2018 U.S. Senate candidate from Texas has been questioned about his low charitable giving after releasing a decade worth of tax returns. At one event he told an inquisitive attendee in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Tuesday that he counts his campaign for president as part of his charitable contributions.
“We’ve made donations to so many organizations in small amounts, in the hundreds of dollars, in larger amounts, in the thousands of dollars. This is beyond what’s itemized and reflected in our taxes,” O’Rourke told reporters on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. He claimed his family didn’t report the donations because the deduction wasn’t important. “Never thought it would be an issue, because I didn’t expect to release my taxes cause I never thought that I’d be running for president.
He said he’s trying to get donation records from the past decade from organizations they have given to.
Reporter Igor Bobic reported that O’Rourke claimed to reporters in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on Wednesday that his wife donated thousands to charity but didn’t report it on their taxes:
Beto tells reporters in Va. he and his wife gave up to thousands of dollars to charitable groups but didn’t report it because it “wasn’t important for us to take the deduction”
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) April 17, 2019
O’Rourke and his wife reported giving just 0.3 percent to charity of a $370,412 adjusted income in 2017, according to tax records cited in the report. The 2020 candidate released ten years worth of tax records this week along with some of the other Democrat contenders in the presidential race.
The former congressman pressed that he and his family had volunteered time to charities including one he said was in Mexico and had aided foreign nationals attempting to stay in the United States, according to the report.
He further credited his time serving in public life as part of his charitable contributions, saying, “We’ve donated time on the boards of nonprofits and certainly in public service and public life.”