Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz Release Partial Tax Returns

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Republican Presidential Candidates Debate In Houston, Texas
Ted Cruz is also wondering aloud if Donald Trump is in league with the mafia.Photo: Joe Raedle/2016 Getty Images

In an effort to goad front-runner Donald Trump into releasing his tax returns, both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz released summaries of their tax returns on Saturday, according to NBC News. Rubio released five years worth and Cruz released four years, but both only released partial returns, meaning some mysteries regarding the candidates’ personal finances remain.

Politico reports that Rubio released the first two pages of his last five returns, and though his annual earnings varied greatly, across the five years he reported a total adjusted gross income of $2.3 million, paying a tax rate of roughly 26 percent. His senate income ($200,000) was augmented by profits from two book deals. With the release, his campaign tried to spin his earnings as part of Rubio’s upwardly-mobile narrative. His partial returns did not contain information about his rental, corporate, or capital gains income.

Cruz also released two pages of his household’s returns, but across only four years. He and his wife’s annual earnings were higher and a bit more consistent than Rubio’s, and his household made between $970,000 and $1.7 million annually over the years detailed in the releases, and they ended up paying effective tax rates around 30 percent. The partial returns did not detail which tax breaks the Cruz family took, or how much they gave to charity. A Cruz spokeswoman told Politico that Cruz would release full returns after one of his rivals does.

Tax historian Joe Thorndike panned both Rubio and Cruz’s partial releases to Politico, noting that, “Until they release full returns, this exercise is more about politics than real transparency.” 

If there was any doubt about that, Cruz dispelled it on Sunday’s Meet the Press, calling once again for Donald Trump to release his returns and suggesting that “the fact that Donald seems terrified to release his taxes suggests that there’s a bombshell there.” Cruz also speculated on what that bombshell might be, insisting that “there have been multiple media reports about Donald’s business dealings with the mob, with the mafia. Maybe his taxes show those business dealings.” 

Trump has said he would like to release his tax returns, but not until an IRS audit has been completed, and it’s not at all clear when that might happen.