Newark mayor and aspiring senator Cory Booker, as we have noted, released 15 years’ worth of his tax returns on Friday. They are relevant to his Senate race and to his credibility. Booker told the New York Times in March that he “kept very little” of the millions of dollars in speaking fees he has raked in over the past several years. “After Uncle Sam takes his share and after I’ve given away hundreds and hundreds of thousands, I’ve kept very little of it, if any,” he said.
The Newark Star Ledger notes that Booker has earned $1.3 million on the speaking circuit since 1998, when he first took office, with the majority of that income coming in 2011 and 2012. According to Politico’s Maggie Haberman, however, Booker “gave about $150,000 total to charity over 14 years.”
That fact makes it tough to square the mayor’s claim that he has given away “hundreds and hundreds of thousands” of dollars of the money he’s made in speaking fees — after taxes. The only way for his claim to be true is if Booker indeed gave away several hundred thousands of dollars this year; that information will appear on his 2014 tax returns. Even that, though, would stretch the truth, as Booker claimed in March of this year — in the past tense — that he had already given away the money, presumably in years past.
Voters will only discover whether the candidate was telling the truth after they cast their ballots in New Jersey’s special election – in which Booker is squaring off against Republican Steve Lonegan — which takes place on October 16.