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Speaking fees have bothered me for some time now. After presidents leave office, they can get enormous amounts of money for showing up and talking at events for wealthy interests. This has the potential to act as indirect bribery, since politicians know about this source of personal wealth and have a huge incentive to put corporate interests above the public interest when they are in the White House.

Ronald Reagan cashed in on this big time, as did Bill Clinton. The Washington Post itemized the $31 million in speaking fees Clinton got from 2001-2005. A lot of items in the list were disturbing, but something really stood out.

Bill Clinton got a huge amount of money from the banking, brokerage, and financial services industry, the folks who brought us the subprime lending crisis and our current recession. In fact, he received at least $3.5 million dollars from them during that period.

Hillary Clinton has a double incentive to promote corporate interests, since her support of corporations will increase future speaking fees for both herself and her husband, especially if she wins the 2008 presidential election.

Here is an abbreviated version of the speaking fees list, focusing on this particular industry:

Finance/Banking Speaking Fees Received by Bill Clinton 2001-2005




DateLocationSponsor(s)Payment
Feb. 5, 2001New York, NYMorgan Stanley Dean Witter$125,000
Feb. 27, 2001New York, NYCredit Suisse First Boston$125,000
May 10, 2001Hong Kong, ChinaCLSA Ltd.$250,000
July 7, 2001London, EnglandThe McCarthy Group$200,000
Sept. 10, 2001Melbourne, AustraliaJ.T. Campbell & Co. Pty. Ltd.$150,000
Jan. 17, 2002Dubai, UAEThe Dabbagh Group (STARS)$300,000
Jan. 20, 2002Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaThe Dabbagh Group (Jeddah Economic Forum)$300,000
April 15, 2002New York, NYWarburg Pincus$125,000
May 22, 2002Hong Kong, ChinaCLSA Ltd.$250,000
Dec. 2, 2002Monterrey, MexicoValue Grupo Financiero$175,000
Oct. 9, 2003Mexico City, MexicoBanco de Mexico$150,000
March 12, 2004Paris, FranceCitigroup$250,000
Dec. 3, 2004New York, NYGoldman Sachs$125,000
Feb. 22, 2005Hong Kong, ChinaCLSA Ltd.$100,000
April 20, 2005Kiawah Island, SCGoldman Sachs$125,000
May 4, 2005Baltimore, MDDeutsche Bank$150,000
June 6, 2005Paris, FranceGoldman Sachs$250,000
June 13, 2005Greensboro, GAGoldman Sachs$150,000
Aug. 11, 2005New York, NYDeutsche Bank$150,000
Nov. 9, 2005New York, NYGolden Tree Asset Mgmt.$150,000


 

2 comments

  1. First time posting here and I have to disagree with you. $150,000 to speak to a banking group is normal for an ex leader of the free world..its really pocket change, walkin' around money, a clerical error on the balance sheet. What I'm saying is that taken individually, these fees are not that bad when you think that an ex leader of the free world, once one of the most powerful men in the world, is going to give your staff a pep talk. Clinton is an elloquent and brilliant speaker and if I had the cash, I would listen to him.
    When I started out in my field, I could only charge $50.00 an hour for my skills, now I charge almost ten times that because I have the experience. People are willing to pay my price for my words of wisdom.

    One more point...are they paying Clinton or are they paying the Clinton Foundation???? The latter is a charitable organization.

     
  2. libhom Says:
  3. I find one aspect of what you are saying disturbing. The notion that elected officials are entitled to enormous speaking fees for a tiny amount of work, profiting from their offices, just plain creeps me out. Presidents get a nice pension. That's all they really need.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that these speaking fees are a collective problem that has turned Bill Clinton from a mildly rich person before he was elected to a fabulously wealthy person after. It is difficult to imagine that this opportunity for personal enrichment would not influence their behavior in a negative fashion.

     

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