BOSTON (CBS) – What can you learn about a person from what they give to charity?
The national average for charitable giving is between three and five percent, according to multiple studies. And by that standard, some of the folks who want to be president are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to helping others, and some are not.
First, the good news.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and her husband report $50,000 in charitable giving on combined income of more than $900,000. That’s five-and-a-half percent.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee and his wife gave nearly $8,300, four percent of their income.
And Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife gave $19,000 to charity, 3.4% of their $566,000 income, although Sanders claims he didn’t report even more donations he gave out of the proceeds from his book.
But those three fell well short of the example set by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and wife Ann, who gave $4,000,000 in 2012, more than 29 percent of their income, and by former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, who gave $172,000 in 2011, 22 percent of what they earned.
Among those markedly less generous – Senator Amy Klobuchar and her husband, who gave just $6,600, And Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and spouse, who donated less than $4,000; in both cases that was less than two percent of their income.
He isn’t a formal candidate yet and hasn’t released his tax returns, but in 2015 then-Vice President Joe Biden gave only $6,900 out of his $392,000 income, a measly 1.8 percent.
Senator Kamala Harris and her husband made $1.9 million last year but gave just $27,000 to charity, 1.4 percent.
And former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke and his wife gave a mere one-third of one percent of their $370,000 income to charity, less than $1,200.
Democrats Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker are among the better-known candidates who have yet to release their returns. And of course, the best-known candidate of all – President Trump – is fighting to stop the release of his returns, possibly because he’s been repeatedly caught exaggerating his philanthropy in the past.