Tax returns show Romney donates millions to Mormon church

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Mitt Romney donated more than $4 million to the Mormon church over the last two years, tax returns released on Tuesday by his presidential campaign indicate.

The Republican presidential candidate and devout Mormon gave $2.6 million to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2011. He gave $1.5 million to the church in 2010.

Speaking to reporters on a conference call on Tuesday, Romney’s attorney, Ben Ginsberg of Patton Boggs, said the “sizeable donations to his church” reflect “his lifelong commitment” of giving to the church every year.

The former governor of Massachusetts released both his 2010 and anticipated 2011 tax return filings on Tuesday. He has been hounded on the issue of releasing his tax filings by both his Republican rivals and by liberal groups.

The filings provided an estimate that Romney will pay more than $3.2 million in taxes on income of $20.9 million in 2011. He paid more than $3 million in taxes on $21.6 million in 2010.

Ginsberg said Romney gives about 16 percent of his income to charity. In 2011, the filings show that Romney donated more than $4 million, while giving almost $3 million in 2010.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday this weekend, Romney was asked by moderator Chris Wallace if he thinks his donations to his church could be problematic politically for him.

“Gee, I hope not,” he said. “If people want to discriminate against someone based upon their commitment to tithe, I’d be very surprised.” (RELATED: I keep my promises (unlike the other guy))

“This is a country that believes in the Bible,” Romney said. “The Bible speaks about providing tithes and offerings. I made a commitment to my church a long, long time ago that I’d give 10 percent of my income to the church. And I’ve followed through on that commitment.”

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