O'Rourke says he has donated much more to charity than reflected in tax returns

O'Rourke says he has donated much more to charity than reflected in tax returns
© Greg Nash

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) defended his charitable giving for the second day in a row, saying he had donated much more in time and money than his tax returns show. 

O’Rourke has been under fire after an analysis for The Washington Post showed that he gave $1,166 to charity in 2017, the smallest amount in the Democratic presidential field. O’Rourke and his wife Amy had a combined income of $370,412 in 2017.

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Speaking to reporters outside of a Virginia coffee shop after a campaign rally that attracted about 300 supporters, O’Rourke said he'd given thousands of dollars more to charities but did not keep records of it all.

“We made donations to so many organizations in small amounts, hundreds of dollars, in larger amounts, thousands of dollars — this is beyond what is itemized or reflected in our taxes, and we just didn’t report it because it wasn’t important for us to take the deduction,” O’Rourke said.

The Texas Democrat said he was reaching out to the organizations to see if they kept records of his donations over the past 10 years.

It was the second day in a row that O'Rourke was addressing questions about his charitable donations. 

O’Rourke also argued that he’d done a lot of volunteering, and argued that his time on the El Paso City Council, in Congress and running for the U.S. Senate and for president counted toward his service to the country.

“In our actions, in serving with nonprofits in El Paso, serving food to asylum seekers coming into our country, spending Christmas Eve at the Greyhound bus station in El Paso with those who had been just dumped there by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and in public service, serving on the city council for six years, Congress for six years, running for Senate and now running for president,” O’Rourke said.

“So we’ll continue to do everything we can for our country, for our community, and that’s all we can do.”