From My Heart, Out Of My Mind

Tracking charitable contributions of politicians

Posted by Don Bryant on January 23, 2009

Call it a hobby, but I will be tracking the charitable contributions of those who run for political office.  While I have never known who gives what at the churches I have served, the reality is that those who are committed to the good purposes of the church substantially commit finances. I think there is a parallel in public service, too.

Sen. Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, showed annual earnings of more than $200,000 and sometimes $300,000 between 1998 and 2007. In 2007, their most generous year, the Bidens gave $995 to charity. In 1999, their charitable donations added up to $120.University of Cincinnati law professor Paul Caron, said Biden’s lack of charitable giving ”is jarring” — that a couple making over $200,000 a year would give so little to charity — between 0.06 and 0.31percent of their income.

Independent Sector, a nonpartisan coalition of approximately 600 charities, foundations and corporate philanthropy programs, reports that 89 percent of American households contribute to charity, with an average contribution of $1,620, or 3.1 percent of income.

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