Out of military, Clark's income soared

Clark and his wife, Gert, wave to supporters at a Friday rally in Knoxville, Tenn.Wade Payne / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Going from the U.S. military to the nation’s biggest investment banking house off Wall Street, Wesley Clark’s income soared from less than $100,000 in 1999 to more than $1.6 million last year, according to the Democratic presidential candidate’s tax records released Friday by his campaign.

More than half of the retired general’s income in the past two years came from speeches and book-writing, Clark’s financial disclosure form being filed with the Federal Election Commission shows.

After joining Stephens Group Inc. as an investment banker in his home state of Arkansas in 2000, Clark collected fees of more than $239,000 while sitting on the boards of several corporations. In 14 months, Clark made more than $1 million at Stephens before leaving the company to start his own consulting firm. Clark’s checking account at his new consulting business contains $500,000 to $1 million, according to his disclosure form, which requires filers to provide income ranges, not specific amounts.

Chairman of the board
Clark became chairman of the board last year at WaveCrest Laboratories in Virginia, collecting $195,000 for consulting on the design and distribution of the company’s motorized bicycle that is being marketed to the U.S. military.

Clark said last month that military technology played a big role in his post-military career but said he received those lucrative jobs and directorships “because I was a smart guy who could provide leadership,” not so much as a gadget guru.

Clark’s net worth is between $3 million and $3.5 million, his campaign says.

During his last full year in the military, Clark’s taxable income from his military pay was $58,000, at a time when he was NATO’s supreme allied commander overseeing the war in Kosovo. Clark leaves Sunday to testify at the trial of accused war criminal and former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosovic.

In his first full year at Stephens, Clark’s income was $670,000, excluding his military retirement pay. Last year, his income was $1.52 million, minus his military pension of $85,000.

For 2001, Clark’s earnings from writing, speeches and sitting on boards of directors amounted to $421,955. Last year, that figure was $971,885.

This talk is not cheap
Clark’s speaking engagements have brought him nearly $1.5 million in income in the last 23 months.

The Clark campaign’s release of his tax returns is an effort “to give the American people a complete sense of his financial background,” said campaign spokesman Chris Lehane.

Clark owns houses in Little Rock and in Virginia and he recently sold a rental property in Colorado, collecting between $15,000 and $50,000 on the sale, according to his disclosure form. Clark also owns a home on 20 acres west of Little Rock in rural Paron.

Clark holds shares of stock in dozens of individual companies, and made $50,000 to $100,000 on his investment in a pharmaceutical company, Pharmathene, specializing in bioterrorism vaccines and treatments.

Because of an oversight by Clark’s accountant, Clark had to pay an extra $24 to Internal Revenue Service in 2001 because of an error on taxes regarding household help.