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A millionaire himself, Bernie Sanders won't apologize for writing bestselling book

Sanders tax returns confirm he's millionaire

Sen. Bernie Sanders used tax day Monday to release his returns for the past decade. That matches other Democratic presidential candidates, including Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Meanwhile, Sen. Kamala Harris has released 15 years of tax returns, more than any other candidate. They are all hoping to draw attention to President Trump's refusal to reveal his tax data.

Sanders has spent years railing against the excesses of wealthy Americans, but his tax returns show us that, thanks to the sales of his 2016 book, Sanders is now one of those millionaires himself, reports CBS News correspondent Ed O'Keefe.

"If anyone thinks I should apologize for writing a bestselling book, I'm sorry, I'm not going to do it," Sanders said in a fiery Fox News town hall Monday night. He defended his earnings and insisted he does not attack the wealthy. 
 
"It's not vilifying to say that people have a whole lot of money, in some cases billions of dollars of wealth, they should pay their fair share of taxes," Sanders said.

But in his 2016 campaign, he frequently targeted wealthy Americans.

"There are millionaires and billionaires out there that are pouring in huge amounts of money into the political process," he said in August 2015.

Sanders and his wife, Jane, had an adjusted gross income of $561,293 in 2018, paying a 26 percent effective tax rate. But in 2017, they reported earning a little more than $1.1 million primarily due to sales of his 2016 book, "Our Revolution."

"I pay the taxes that I owe. And by the way, why don't you get Donald Trump up here and ask him how much he pays in taxes?" Sanders asked Fox News to cheers from the crowd.

During the last campaign, Sanders released his 2014 tax returns and said he would release more if he earned the nomination. This time, Sanders said he would release several years of his taxes, but had continued to delay the release.

We asked the senator about it last week.

"There isn't something in those returns that's going to make your supporters unhappy, is there?" O'Keefe asked.

"My trillions of dollars of investment in Saudi Arabia or Russia. You got it, Ed! Right here. You got it on CBS," Sanders joked, adding, "No, I don't think so."

Sanders rejected the idea that his financial success was a result of capitalism and achieving the American dream, saying he had advantages – a college degree and as a U.S. senator. But what he wants is a country where everyone has opportunity.