In the last eight years, Bill and Hillary Clinton earned a combined $109 million, with the former president collecting nearly half of that money as a speaker, hired at times by companies that have been among his wife's most generous political supporters.

After leaving the White House, the Clintons earned $30 million from their best-selling books and brought in $15 million more through an investment partnership with one of her top presidential campaign fund-raisers, California billionaire Ronald Burkle.

The disclosures came with yesterday's long-awaited release of the Clintons' joint tax returns, a move made in the thick of Hillary Clinton's battle with Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Clinton initially resisted making her family's finances public, but pressure on her to match Obama's disclosure grew in February when she disclosed that she had dipped into her personal account to lend her campaign $5 million.

The tax returns illustrate the rags-to-riches story of a couple who came to the White House from Arkansas with modest means and left facing an estimated $12 million in legal debts rung up during investigations of the Whitewater land deal, campaign fund-raising, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

As she entered the Senate and he left the political spotlight, the Clintons transformed themselves into a successful global brand.

"We've come a long way from Harry Truman," said Leon Panetta, a Clinton administration official who now directs the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, referring to the "man from Missouri" who left the presidency to live a modest lifestyle in his home state.

The Clintons paid $33 million in federal taxes during the eight years and donated $10 million to charity, said Jay Carson, a Clinton campaign spokesman. "The Clintons have now made public 30 years of tax returns, a record matched by few people in public service," he said.

Major donors to both Clintons' White House bids have hired the former president as a consultant, joined him in lucrative investment ventures, and paid him six-figure sums to speak at gatherings.

The crossover between the couple's decades of political fund-raising and their personal profit also extended at times to the former president's charity work and his library, though many records related to those remain secret.


What is clear is that numerous financial patrons - individuals as well as corporations - repeatedly emerge in the Clintons' circle.

Chief among them is Burkle, founder of the Yucaipa investment firm, who not only has provided Bill Clinton with a source of income in his post-presidency but who also ranks as one of Sen. Clinton's "Hillraisers," a title given to those who raise more than $100,000 for her presidential bid.

The tax returns show Bill Clinton's partnership with Burkle, at various arms of his Yucaipa firm, yielding in excess of $1 million a year, starting in 2003. In 2005, Clinton collected $5 million from those investments, and more than $2.5 million in each of the past two years.

The former president served as a senior adviser to the private firm, helping Burkle land investors and identify business opportunities. The Wall Street Journal reported that Clinton started to unwind the relationship this year and could receive a payout worth $20 million.


Another recurring figure is InfoUSA founder Vinod Gupta, who has contributed to the Clinton library, donated to Sen. Clinton's White House bid, and hired the former president as a consultant. Legal papers last year showed that the former president earned more than $3 million from the firm, which sells consumer data to telemarketers.

The former president's speaking career also gave supporters opportunities to boost the couple's bottom line. As Sen. Clinton campaigned for office, her husband earned more than $10 million for his speeches. The tax returns do not reveal who hired him to speak.

In 2005, Bill Clinton averaged almost a speech a day - 352 for the year - though only about 20 percent were for personal income. On one day in Canada, he made $475,000 for two speeches, more than double his annual salary as president.

While the tax returns offer the most illuminating look to date at the Clintons' finances, the picture is incomplete. They sought an extension for their 2007 return.

Clintons' 2007 Taxes at a Glance

The Clinton campaign released tax returns from 2000 through 2006 and highlights from their 2007 return. For 2007:

Sen. Clinton's salary: $150,200.

Sen. Clinton's book royalties: $152,864

President Clinton's pension: $186,600

President Clinton's book income: $4,434,446

President Clinton's speeches: $10,145,000

Partnership income: $2,750,000

Adviser income from InfoUSA: $400,000

Income from savings accounts: $485,000

Investment income from blind trust: $3,515,000.