Long fond of describing himself as "Middle Class Joe" while he took in little more than his government salary, the former vice president stressed his working-class roots from the very beginning of his bid for his party's 2020 presidential nomination . But federal tax returns and a financial disclosure released Tuesday show that since Biden left public office, his income has surged thanks to a lucrative book deal and constant publicity tours that brought in more than $4 million.
Biden's disclosure showed that he also made at least $2.7 million in business income as part of his publicity tour and writing and took a $425,000 salary from CelticCapri Corp., the business entity the Bidens used for their post-White House work.
Since leaving the White House, Biden and his wife signed a multibook deal with Flatiron Books valued at $8 million, according to Publishers Weekly. Biden's first book , an account of his son Beau's death from cancer, briefly topped bestseller lists in 2017. He and his wife have also worked on two other book projects.
Biden earned $540,000 as a professor and namesake of the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Jill Biden made at least $700,000 in her own speaking engagements, the disclosure shows.
Joe Biden's basic speaking fee was reportedly $100,000 a speech, but his disclosure showed that while some appearances were priced as low as the $40,000 range, others ranged as high as $190,000 for a lecture at Drew University in New Jersey.
Biden's last financial disclosure, filed in 2016 during his final year as vice president, showed that even after eight years at his $230,000-a-year government salary, Biden held significant personal debt. The 2016 disclosure revealed financial assets worth more than $273,000 — including a $150,000 rental property — and more than $750,000 in debt. Those liabilities included a recent mortgage worth more than $500,000 on the rental property and a recent $250,000 home equity loan.
But much of that debt has been paid off, according to the latest disclosure, which showed only two old loans, each worth no more than $15,000 and dating to the 1980s. Biden's three newly available tax returns, for 2016, 2017 and 2018, show that his family income jumped from $400,000 in 2016 to $11 million in 2017 as a result of his book deal.
Biden's most recent federal tax return had been released by the Obama administration in 2015. He and Jill Biden paid $85,000 in federal taxes on $390,000 in income, which includes both their salaries and nearly $19,000 in rental income. The Bidens that year held less than $25,000 in investments and gave nearly $7,000 to charity.
The Bidens also donated between $100,000 and $499,000 to the Biden Foundation, a family based nonprofit, since its launch in November 2016, according to the charity's website. The Bidens set up the nonprofit to advance political and cultural issues aligned with his political interests, but the couple suspended the foundation's operations last April to concentrate on Biden's presidential campaign.