The Clintons Earned Millions in Speaking Fees

Hillary Clinton

Image courtesy of Hillary Clinton for President

The Clintons Earned Millions in Speaking Fees
| published May 16, 2015 |

By Thursday Review staff

Hillary Clinton hopes to link her Presidential campaign to a direct outreach to the working class, the underprivileged, and the millions of middle class Americans still deeply affected by the Great Recession.

And the Clinton campaign hopes to diffuse or deflect issues related to the way donations were made to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, especially complex and troubling questions about foreign contributions made during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as U.S. Secretary of State. Some of those questions—which come from reporters, investigative journalists, and a dozen Republicans running for President themselves—may never be fully answered in the complex, even byzantine world of the Clintons.

One thing is now very clear in the light of day: the Clintons piled up massive sums of cash from book deals, lectures, speaking engagements, and appearances at special events.

According to financial disclosure documents provided by the Bill and Hillary Clinton to the Federal Election Commission, the Clintons earned more than $25 million from speaking fees alone during the 14 months period from January 2014 to March of this year. Hillary Clinton raked in more than $5 million for her book “Hard Choices,” which was released last year. A large percentage of the book earnings came up front in the form of an advance, though the exact figure is not available now.

The Clintons together made slightly more than one hundred major speeches during 2014. According to the math employed by the Associated Press, that would work out to an average of $250,000 per speech. The Clinton’s also earned additional money for appearances which did not require speaking. The Clintons earn more than nearly any other public speakers for their frequent appearances at the microphone, though Hillary Clinton—now officially a candidate in the 2016 Presidential election—now makes her stump speeches for free.

The same financial disclosure statement lists the Clintons’ substantial investments, including stocks and mutual funds currently worth about $20 million. That fund, which is managed by Vanguard Investments (the second largest firm for the management of investment and retirement wealth), was established early in 2014, when their combined income from the combination of speaking engagements and book sales reached its crescendo. Vanguard is based in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

The disclosures come at a time of complicated financial narrative for the Clintons and for the Presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, who announced her intention to run last month. During the course of the last few months, the Clinton Foundation has come under intense scrutiny for its handling of contributions from foreign sources—much of the money arriving to the foundation’s coffers while Hillary Clinton was serving as Secretary of State. The Foundation has acknowledged that it has made mistakes in the way it handled some of the donors, and it has also admitted there have been problems in making a complete disclosure available to reporters. The records of roughly 1100 Canadian contributors may never be fully seen, as the Clinton Foundation says that the data regarding those donors is protected under Canadian law. Some tax experts in the U.S. are not so sure that any such blanket protection exists.

There has been scrutiny as well of the donations which came from a dozen other countries—both from governments and from businesses—including Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Italy, the Netherlands, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Members of Congress want to know if some of these contributions amounted to a quid pro quo wherein cash would be given to the foundation in exchange for political or business cooperation by the U.S. State Department.

Also at issue are those massive speaking fees and appearance honorariums paid to Bill Clinton on behalf of his involvement with the foundation. Records indicate that Bill Clinton received speaking fees which ranged from $75,000 to as much as $400,000 per appearance. During the years 2009 to 2012, while Hillary Clinton was acting as the nation’s top diplomat, Bill Clinton amassed roughly $50 million in speaking fees and honoraria—many of the appearances in overseas venues or at international forums.

The Clintons made the disclosures as part of the FEC requirements to run for President. For a candidate to be official, he or she must make a thorough disclosure of all income and assets within 30 days of announcing their intention to run. According to the Associated Press, several Republican candidates have filed for an extension on providing complete data. The data includes not only assets and income, but also liabilities, and the documents must also account for gifts valued at over $200.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Will Clinton Foundation Disclose All Documents?; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; May 12, 2015.

The Clintons, The Foundation & The Foreign Cash; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; May 1, 2015.