O'Rourke Responds to Backlash, Compares Serving in Public Office to Giving to Charity


Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke responded to criticism while campaigning in Virgina on Tuesday regarding the small percentage of his income he gave to charity, saying serving in public office is a way he donates.

According to The Washington Post, O’Rourke gave the least in total amount and in percentage of income of 2020 Democratic contenders whose taxes have been made public.

He and his wife Amy reported $1,166 in charitable giving from an adjusted gross income of $366,455 in 2017, which works out to one-third of 1 percent.

The other Democratic contenders’ totals ranged between 1.4 and 5.5 percent of their incomes.

A University of Virginia student questioned O’Rourke about his low giving levels during a campaign event on the school’s campus in Charlottesville.

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The woman asked why the former Texas congressman gave less in charitable donations than her sister did, who is a recent college graduate who earns one-seventh the amount.

O’Rourke responded first by taking a not so veiled swipe at President Donald Trump, saying every one who hold the highest office in the land should release his or her tax returns. Trump has not released his tax filings, stating that while he is under audit by the Internal Revenue Service he has been advised not to do so.

“I’ve served in public office since 2005,” O’Rourke then said. “I do my best to contribute to the success of my community, my state and now, of my country.”

“There are ways that I do this that are measurable, and there are ways that I do this that are immeasurable. There are charities that we’ve donated to that we’ve recorded and itemized, others that we’ve donated to that we have not,” he added.

Do you think serving in public office is a form of charitable giving?

The 46-year-old held a position on the El Paso, Texas, city council from 2005 to 2011 and then became a member of Congress from 2011 to 2018.

O’Rourke unsuccessfully sought to unseat Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the 2018 midterms before announcing his candidacy for the presidency last month.

“I will tell you, I’m doing everything that I can right now, spending this time with you — not with our kiddos, not back home in El Paso — because I want to sacrifice everything to make sure that we meet this moment of truth with everything that we’ve got,” he said.

The Daily Wire’s Hank Berrien pointed out that O’Rourke “pontificated about how the wealth of the country must be shared” in a tweet last month.

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“The unprecedented concentration of wealth, power and privilege in the United States must be broken apart. Opportunity must be fully shared with all. We must all have the opportunity to succeed. Together. As one country,” the candidate wrote.

NBC news affiliate WVIR reported the issues O’Rourke pushed during two stump speeches at UVA included universal healthcare, criminal justice reform, changes to the immigration system and stricter gun control laws.

The Democrat also spoke about his support for the “Equality Act,” which seeks to include sexual preference along with other protected classes — like race, gender and religion — in federal anti-discrimination law.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith