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Joe Biden’s Released Tax Returns Don’t Explain Millions In Income. Where Did It Come From?

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Image CreditGage Skidmore/Flickr

The sources of President Joe Biden’s large income after he left his post as vice president have never been detailed in his tax returns.

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In the week prior to the presidential election, I wrote a piece that asked the question, “Where Is Hunter Biden’s Money?” It was an important question then, even more so now. Given the legacy media’s recent validation of Hunter’s laptop that discussed a slice of equity planned for the “Big Guy” in a deal that involved an entity controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), we should know if any money from it (or other foreign sources) ended up in Joe Biden’s pocket, but we don’t.

Recall that despite then-presidential candidate Biden having bragged that he had released his tax returns with what his team called “a historic level of transparency,” the truth is that he only released his individual returns. Those returns provided no detail regarding the source of most of his income, dollars that flowed to him and his wife Jill by way of S-corporations they set up shortly after his departure from the office of vice president. Those entities, CelticCapri Corp (his) and Giacoppa Corp (hers), contained more than $13 million of the $17 million the couple had reported in income after Biden left office, most of it in the first year (2017).

The same media that ignored Hunter’s laptop has shown a complete incuriosity about these entities, accepting the premise that Joe and Jill raked in $13 million from their book deal to generate their huge increase in income. We simply don’t know if that’s true, though. What we do know is that their book sales were dismal.  

Perhaps sensing smoke starting to build just before the election, USA Today published a “fact check” piece that attempted to support that the Bidens earned “$15.6 million … from speaking fees and book deals” in the years 2017 through 2019 and that “more than $10 million of that total income was profits from Biden’s memoir ‘Promise Me, Dad’ and $3 million in profits from Jill Biden’s book.”

Follow the source link provided to that $10 million number, though, and you’ll end up at Joe Biden’s campaign website with financial disclosure links to only their individual returns — no S-corporation tax returns. So, in reality, readers were left with a smokescreen. (Now the financial disclosure links for 2016, 2017, and 2018 have even been changed to connect to a Democratic National Committee fundraising site via ActBlue rather than the tax documents.)

I noted back in 2020 that, “While (Joe Biden’s) financial disclosures reasonably support the $2.7 million of net income reported by CelticCapri in 2018, a notable $8.7 million gap exists between its $9.5 million net income in 2017 and the $809,709 of disclosed income in that year from book tour and related speaking events. Since his disclosure covers only part of 2017, we lack the insight into other income that may explain it.” 

To that obvious question, the legacy press simply yawned. But it will become increasingly harder for them to maintain a head-in-the-sand position as more information arises.

Senators Present Proof of CCP Connections

Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., recently showed proof of payments from what they said were CCP-controlled firms “that prove just how connected the Bidens were and how compromised President Biden probably is.” An August 2017 wire receipt showed $100,000 sent from CEFC Infrastructure Investment to Owasco, and a copy of a November 2017 check from CEFC Limited revealed $1 million paid to Hudson West III, LLC. Both recipient entities were tied to the president’s son.

Did any of that money, or other overseas income, go to Joe or Jill? We would know if the president provided a copy of their S-Corp. tax returns with all partner K-1’s that flowed through them. But the only detail we have is aggregate numbers reported on the couple’s individual returns.   

                                                                                

As it stands, we’re left to trust USA Today that Jill grossed $3 million (royalties plus about $700,000 from speaking fees) for a book that sold only 7,000 copies in its first week, and that from that book deal she netted more than $1 million in the two years prior to its release, but only $175,319 in the year it was published (2019). It’s possible an advance was paid, but could a publisher have justified that amount?

The Numbers Don’t Add Up

We are told that Joe netted $12.2 million (after expenses) in the same deal for a book that sold 300,000 copies. Excluding the $4.2 million earned from touring and speaking, that yields $8 million of income that we are to assume came from book royalties (higher if we know his gross revenues before expenses).

For analysis purposes, consider that his book had a retail price of $27 for hardcover and $18 for paperback, and assume a reasonable mix of sales so the average price was $23 (with no discounting). On 300,000 books sold, gross revenues would’ve been just under $7 million. As an author, Joe would’ve likely received about 12 percent of that using a blended royalty rate (15 percent hardcover and 7.5 percent paperback typical from publishers), yielding about $800,000 income. Round it up to $1 million if you prefer. Double it. It’s still not close to $8 million.

Sure, he likely got an advance, but would a publisher have advanced that kind of money to an author whose prior work, “Promises to Keep,” sold only 49,000 copies?

So many questions.

Release the Full Tax Returns

Rather than ask for proof of sources of income, the media has been stuck in a repeating cycle of reporting about whether Joe and Jill underpaid payroll taxes. That’s a valid question, but it may miss the much larger one: Where did all of that money come from after Biden left office?

To that end, tax returns are a valuable investigative source document. Since the days of Al Capone, the rule has been clear: Don’t ever fail to pay taxes on any income, even if shady. It’s the easiest conviction for a prosecutor. So it’s logical that all income would be reported, and for any potentially over the ethical or legal line, an upstream S-Corporation would serve as the perfect mechanism to obscure it from view.

On a matter of this importance, all possibilities must be fairly considered until proof is established one way or the other. The president may have completely valid sources for all of his income, and if so, he should demonstrate it, particularly given the evidence of foreign money flowing through his son and indirect references to himself.

In releasing Biden’s tax return last year, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki commented that the “release (of) the president’s tax returns … should be expected of all presidents.” Surely she would agree this means the full set of documents.

If this question involved former President Donald Trump and one of his sons, The New York Times and The Washington Post would already be howling for full disclosure, and they would be right to do so. So perhaps they will join now in saying, “Mr. President, please clear the air of all doubt — release your full tax returns.”