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O'Rourke defends charitable donations: 'I'm doing everything I can right now'

O'Rourke defends charitable donations: 'I'm doing everything I can right now'
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeMexico emerging as foreign policy challenge for Biden Beyoncé sports pro-Biden mask on Instagram Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE (D-Texas) defended his charitable giving on Tuesday after facing questions about his donations by a voter on the campaign trail.

After releasing 10 years' worth of tax returns, O'Rourke was asked about his charitable giving rate — 0.3 percent — from a student at the University of Virginia, where the former congressman appeared on Tuesday, according to the Dallas Morning News.

O'Rourke paid $81,019 in income taxes in 2017, according to his returns, while reporting $1,166 in charitable donations.

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"There are charities that we've donated to that we've recorded and itemized, others that we've donated to that we have not," O'Rourke reportedly responded.

"I'll tell you, I'm doing everything 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 we've got," he continued.

O'Rourke and other Democratic candidates have publicized the release of their tax returns in recent days as President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE continues to resist pressure to release his own returns. The president bucked tradition in 2016 by refusing to release his returns, claiming to be under IRS audit.

O'Rourke faces a crowded field of Democratic contenders vying for the party's 2020 presidential nomination, and trails other candidates such as Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration In the final chapter of 2020, we must recommit to repairing our democracy MORE (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete Buttigieg'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' Biden's win is not a policy mandate — he should govern accordingly MORE (D) in polls of early primary states.

O'Rourke was also found this week to have underpaid his taxes in 2013 and 2014 by more than $4,000 in those two years. A spokesman told The Wall Street Journal, which originally reported the discrepancy, that an amendment would be filed by the accounting firm that prepared O'Rourke and his wife's taxes.

"After becoming aware of this error, the accounting firm that prepared the filings was immediately informed and will file an amendment as appropriate,” the spokesman said.