Kirsten Gillibrand Gave Less than 2 Percent of Income to Charity, Tax Returns Show

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand released her 2018 tax returns on Wednesday, making her the first Democratic presidential candidate to participate in this traditional act of transparency.

Gillibrand reported a total income of $217,634 for the previous year, nearly four times the median income for U.S. households. That includes the senator's congressional salary of $167,634, and $50,000 from her book deal. She paid nearly $29,170 in federal taxes, or 13.4 percent of her total income. Her husband, venture capitalist Jonathan Gillibrand, reported no income in 2018.

Gillibrand's tax returns show that she donated $3,750 to charity last year, just 1.7 percent of her total income.

By comparison, Barack and Michelle Obama reported giving 22 percent of their income to charity in 2011. Gillibrand's charitable donations are, however, more substantial than what Joe and Jill Biden gave to charity that same year, when the couple reported donating just 1.5 percent of their income to charitable causes.

Gillibrand's charitable giving is considerably less than the average charitable deduction reported by American taxpayers in 2017 of $5,508. Among taxpayers in her income bracket, the average reported deduction for charitable donations was $5,472.

In a short YouTube video announcing the release of her tax returns, Gillibrand said she wanted to show voters "I am beholden to no one, that my values are not for sale, and that I'm working only for you."

She added: "We can't fundamentally change Washington unless we can show the American people we are brave enough to do what needs to be done."