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Romney and Obama vie for title of most charitable; Santorum gave least to charity

at 12:40 PM ET, 02/16/2012

The most charitable presidential candidate in the 2012 election is ... a tie!

Rick Santorum’s disclosure of four years worth of tax returns late Wednesday makes him the fourth major candidate to do so (Texas Rep. Ron Paul is the lone holdout), and a dive into the numbers shows some very disparate charitable giving habits.

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, despite having the second-lowest income of the four candidate/spouse combos, gave the highest percentage of their $1.8 million income to charity in 2010, at 13.6 percent.

(See the full tale of the tape here.)

The wealthiest couple, Mitt Romney and wife Ann, finished slightly ahead, giving 13.8 percent to charity — most of it to the Mormon church. Of course, Romney also made far more than anyone else in 2010, at more than $21 million.

But when you calculate charitable giving based on adjustable gross income, Obama actually takes a lead. He and Michelle gave 14.2 percent of their AGI, while the Romneys gave 13.8 percent.

Santorum and Newt Gingrich, by comparison, gave very little of their income to charity.

Gingrich and his wife, Callista, gave 2.6 percent of their $3.2 million income in 2010.

Santorum and wife Karen, who made the least in 2010 (less than $1 million), also gave the lowest percentage of their income to charity, at 1.8 percent — slightly less, it should be noted, than the preceding three years.

Of course, Santorum also has the biggest family of anybody running and the most non-adult children, and we all know how much is costs to raise kids these days...

 
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