Santorum is party's poor relation – with a salary of $1m

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

But wealth of 'poorest' candidate sets him apart from blue-collar image he is trying to project

Just as he is presenting himself to voters in two Midwestern states as the son of a coal-mining family with strong ties to blue-collar America, Republican hopeful Rick Santorum has released four years of tax returns that show earnings hovering around $1 million (£633,000) a year since leaving Congress in 2006.

While the wealth of Mr Santorum, an ex-Senator from Pennsylvania, seems paltry beside that of Mitt Romney, whose front-runner status in the GOP nomination contest he is trying to usurp, it does not tally with the pick-up truck narrative that has helped him connect with religious conservatives. Among the more surprising details in the filing: Fox News has paid him almost $250,000 as a commentator.

A poll last night from the Detroit News showed Mr Santorum leading Mr Romney by 34 per cent to 30 per cent in Michigan, which holds a primary election on 28 February. While it may be a statistical dead heat, the numbers will only pile new pressure on Mr Romney, for whom Michigan was meant to be a firewall. He was born in the state and his father, George Romney, served as governor there. A loss there next week to Mr Santorum could be devastating.

The Santorum tax filings could be helpful to the Romney camp as it tries to brand Mr Santorum both as a Washington insider and member of the grubby "K Street" lobbying club in the capital. While not registered as a lobbyist, Mr Santorum has drawn a large portion of his earnings in consulting fees for corporations, notably in the energy and medical sectors, which benefited from his support while he was a Senator.

Mr Santorum, who campaigned yesterday in Michigan and Ohio, which will be one of 11 states voting on Super Tuesday in two weeks, likes to stress his western Pennsylvania roots. But since he lost re-election to the Senate in 2006, he has settled in a four-bedroom house in Virginia close to Washington on five acres, worth $1.4m in 2010.

Still serving as a senator in 2006, Mr Santorum earned around $165,200 annually. But his financial picture improved sharply upon leaving and setting up his consulting company, Excelsior LLC. According to his filings he earned $659,000 in 2007, $952,000 in 2008, $1.1 million in 2009, before dropping slightly to $923,000 in 2010.

Still, Mr Romney will have to direct his fire carefully, not least because Mr Santorum earns 4 per cent of what he takes in each year. The filings also show the Santorum family paying double the tax rate applied to Mr Romney, whose effective 13.9 per cent tax rate is a sore point with many voters. Most of Mr Romney's income comes from investments – hence the lower bracket – while Mr Santorum has actually worked for his.

How much? Candidate earnings

Mitt Romney

Earnings in 2010 $21.6m

Tax rate 13.9%

How? The former Massachusetts governor has three homes and lives mainly on income from investments built during his years at the private equity powerhouse Bain Capital.

Ron Paul

Net worth Between $2.4m and $5.4m

Tax rate Unknown. He says he has no intention of publishing his tax return.

How? The 76-year-old physician turned congressman turned presidential candidate reports an annual income of $91,185 from a medical pension, and has an investment portfolio stuffed full of mining stocks.

Newt Gingrich

Earnings in 2010 $3.1m

Tax rate 31%

How? The former House speaker has built a network of businesses since leaving office 12 years ago. Most of his wealth comes from Gingrich Holdings, an umbrella company for a collection of lucrative enterprises.

Rick Santorum

Earnings in 2010 $923,000

Tax rate 31%

How? The former Pennsylvania Senator has seen a sharp rise in his personal wealth since leaving office thanks to his growing work as a Washington-based corporate consultant and media commentator.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links