Menendez’s Tax Disclosure Raises Questions About Book Deal Income

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U. S. Senator Bob Menendez made his last five years tax returns and U.S. Senate Financial Disclosure reports available to the media for inspection yesterday at his campaign headquarters in New Brunswick.

In 2011 Menendez’s reported wages of $156,250 from his U.S. Senate salary of $174,000. His representatives explained that $17,750 of his salary went into a deferred retirement account and was not reportable as wages. He also reported $15,282 in taxable income from a 5 unit residential rental property in Union City, $292 in interest and $50 in dividends for total taxable income of $171,872. He deducted $6,436 in Employee Business Expenses.

The senator paid $36,961 in federal income taxes (21.4%) and $9,889 in NJ income taxes (5.2%) in 2011.

As a tenant in his North Bergen home, Menendez does not pay property taxes. However he did pay $9,669 in property taxes on the Union City investment property he purchased for $47,500 in the 1970′s.

According to Menendez’s 2010 and 2009 U.S. Senate Financial Disclosure Reports he had an agreement with New American Library (NAL), a division of Penguin Group (USA) wherein he would receive a $50,000 advance of royalties to be split with his co-author, Peter Eisner, for their book, Growing American Roots: Why Our Nation Will Thrive as Our Largest Minority Flourishes. $25,000 was to be paid upon signing the agreement with NAL in January 2009 and $25,000 upon delivery of the manuscript for the book that was published in October of 2009.

Menendez’s agreement with Eisner, who’s name did not appear as a co-author on the book cover or title page, was that as ghost writer he would receive the first $50,000. Menendez would receive the second $50,000 and that the two would split future royalties which would range from 7.5% to 12.5% of sales on a 50-50 basis.

No income from the book was reported on Menendez’s 2011, 2010 or 2009 tax returns.

“Bob didn’t make a dime on the book, that’s what he told me,” said campaign advisor Brad Lawrence.

Menendez 2012 Communications Director Paul Brubaker said that Eisner received the first $50,000 and that sales of the book, which is selling now on Amazon for $1.38 (hardcover), were insufficient for additional royalties to be paid.

Brubaker and Lawrence did not know if Menendez paid Eisner after receiving payment from NAL, which would have triggered a tax reporting requirement, or if NAL paid Eisner directly in which case there would have been no tax reporting necessary for the senator.

A call to Penguin Group (USA) for clarification has not been returned.


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