Hillary Clinton has had one thing on her mind for some time now – bankrolling on her political-celebrity status by giving speeches. Not just any speeches – speeches on issues that will certainly re-surface during her time campaigning for president. TIME,
After her time as Secretary of State, Clinton left public office – but “few thought it was her last act as a public official.
“…Being a private citizen allowed her to hang out a shingle, offering to make speeches for six-figure paychecks from companies and associations with lobbyists working on federal issues” that Clinton will certainly face in her 2016 bid for the office of the President of the United States.
“In all, Clinton made $10.2 million from 45 speeches in 2014, her first full year out of office, according to her May 15 financial disclosure. Of that, almost $4.6 million came from clients with lobbying shops looking to shape policy on issues as varied as taxes, trade policy, financial regulation and health care…
“At a rate of thousands of dollars per minute, Clinton spoke to groups that represent biotech researchers, auto dealers and manufacturing titans. In all, groups that Clinton was paid to address spent $72.5 million on federal lobbyists in 2014, according to data compiled by Krumholz.
“Days after making her paydays public, Clinton faced questions during a campaign swing in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Asked if there were conflicts of interest in taking money from the groups, she had a ready answer: “No.”
“Obviously,” Clinton continued, “Bill and I have been blessed and we’re very grateful for the opportunities that we had, but we’ve never forgotten where we’ve come from.” Since leaving office in 2001, Bill Clinton has made $82.8 million giving similar speeches, allowing the couple to amass significant wealth, which they have reported as falling between $11 million and $53 million.”
In total, the Clintons have been paid an absurd amount of money for speeches – both for their personal wealth and for the Clinton Foundation. “The technology company Qualcomm, for instance, paid Clinton $125,000 for a speech in San Diego, and its executives sent $50,250 to Ready for Hillary. Salesforce.com paid Clinton $451,000 total to address the tech company twice in 2014; separately, its executives gave Ready for Hillary $55,250. And the technology company Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., paid Clinton $325,000 for a speech in Las Vegas and spent nearly $3.5 million lobbying in 2014. That same year, Cisco made another donation to the Clinton Foundation, bringing its cumulative total to somewhere between $1 million and $5 million.
“In addition to other issues, those three companies all happen to be enthusiastic supporters of a trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Clinton supported as Secretary of State but has yet to express an opinion on as a presidential candidate. In all, organizations that are seeking broadened trade, an issue that is likely to land on the next President’s desk, spent almost $3 million to hear from Clinton.”
Speaking fees for former political figures with celebrity-like status is nothing new – ““What’s new is that you may come back to office,” says Larry Noble, a former counsel to the Federal Election Commission. “If she had retired after being Secretary of State, there’d be much less issue with it.”.”