Jeb Bush Got Rich After He Left Tallahassee

Yesterday, Jeb Bush dropped more than a thousand pages of his personal tax returns on the web — 33 years' worth of financial info in all. The document dump represents the most tax documents ever released by a presidential candidate.

Reporters are still dredging through all of that paper, but one thing is abundantly clear: After leaving the governor's office in 2006, Jeb made some serious bank. 

In '06, his last year in Tallahassee, he reported an income of just over $260,000. By the next year — as his post-political life shifted to corporate consulting and the paid speech circuit — that jumped to $2.2 million. In 2013, amid a growing real-estate business and a booming consulting company, his income rocketed all the way to $7.365 million.

In sum, Bush hauled in just shy of $30 million in income in his first seven years out of the governor's mansion, the returns show. 

"I worked constantly and traveled the globe for my clients," Bush writes of his growing income bracket. "And it paid off. Over these 33 years, my income increased thanks to hard work and experience. My most recent tax return reflects that success with an annual income of $7.4 million."

Bush also used the tax returns to highlight one of his campaign issues: simplifying the tax code and reducing taxes on the wealthy, such as himself. Bush paid about a 36 percent rate on his earnings, noting to reporters that "more than one in three dollars I earned in my career" went to Uncle Sam.

For all the transparency in the record release, though, the returns leave many questions unanswered. For instance, as the Tampa Bay Times notes, the returns show several corporations founded by Bush bringing in six-figure sums — but without any clue as to where that money actually comes from. Those protected companies include Old Rhodes Holdings, which was founded to make money in the disaster response field, and Britton Hill Advisors, which has interests in energy, including fracking.

More interesting info will surely emerge from the returns as reporters plow through the documents this week. It's no great secret that Bush's moneymaking enterprises have included some less-than-savory clients, including Lehman Brothers just before its toxic investment implosion, and InnoVida, a Miami firm that turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

Here are his most recent returns. See anything noteworthy? Let us know.

Jeb Tax Returns 2009-2013

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink