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'RourkeButtigieg pushes back on O'Rourke threat to strip religious institutions of tax-exempt status O'Rourke raises .5 million in third quarter Conservatives slam Beto O'Rourke over threat to tax-exempt status for religious organizations 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage 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 SandersSanders wishes Ocasio-Cortez happy birthday Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Sanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption MORE (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegTrump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage Sanders can gain ground by zeroing in on corruption Biden praises Buttigieg for criticizing GOP attacks: 'That's a good man' 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.