GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum is a millionaire, according to the four years of tax documents he released Thursday. Santorum has earned between $659,000 (in 2007) and $1.1 million (in 2009) in every year since he left the Senate, easily putting him in the top 1 percent of U.S. earners. (Much of Santorum's money came from media, consulting, and speaking fees.) But Santorum's income "looks like a rounding error" compared to GOP presidential rival Mitt Romney's $21.6 million haul in 2010, says Bruce Watson at DailyFinance. Santorum, of course, was quick to contrast his income with Romney's: "I don't have wealth. I don't have investments. I don't have capital gains." Will Santorum's tax filings be an asset on the trail?
This hits Romney where it hurts: Santorum "may have finally found a way to soar over Romney," says Dan Rackley at Yahoo News. Releasing four years of tax returns, versus Romney's one year, will be "taken as a sign of good faith by voters." Plus, Santorum forks over 28 percent of his income to Uncle Sam, not-so-subtly reminding everyone of "the paltry 13 percent Romney paid." Whatever you think of Santorum's socially conservative views, "at least he pays what most would consider his fair share."
"Santorum scoring points by releasing tax returns"
But it kills Santorum's blue-collar image: Now that we know Santorum earned a whopping $3.6 million since voters "unceremoniously bounced" him from the Senate in November 2006, can the pundits stop blathering on about "Santorum's bond with the working man"? says Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News. "Clearly, he doesn't feel their pain." And while Santorum is less wealthy than Romney, there's really only one thing "the ex-Pennsylvania senator has in common with the working class: He knows what it's like to lose a job."
"Santorum releases his income taxes"
And reveals his hypocrisy on charity: Santorum has given "a shockingly tiny amount to charity," says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. In the last four years, he's never given away more than 3 percent of his income. Romney, by contrast, gave away roughly 16 percent. "Much of Santorum's career and a good deal of his writing focus on faith-based charities. So why did he personally give so little to the groups he lauds?" You can bet Santorum will be scrutinized for this "glaring inconsistency." Apparently, Santorum "believes in church doctrine about contraception, but not about tithing."
"Santorum is wealthy, but stingy with charitable giving"