Now, I was aware that our most recent former President has taken a much higher profile than any of his predecessors, but I didn't know just how
busy ol' Bill has been.Washington Post - For Clinton, New Wealth in SpeechesFormer president Bill Clinton, who came to the White House with modest means and left deeply in debt, has collected nearly $40 million in speaking fees over the past six years, according to interviews and financial disclosure statements filed by his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).
Last year, one of his most lucrative since he left the presidency, Clinton earned $9 million to $10 million on the lecture circuit. He averaged almost a speech a day -- 352 for the year -- but only about 20 percent were for personal income. The others were given for no fee or for donations to the William J. Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit group he founded to pursue causes such as the fight against AIDS.
Many of Bill Clinton's six-figure speeches have been made to companies whose employees and political action committees have been among Hillary Clinton's top backers in her Senate campaigns. The New York investment giant Goldman Sachs paid him $650,000 for four speeches in recent years. Its employees and PAC have given her $270,000 since 2000 -- putting it second on the list of her most generous political patrons.
Two-thirds of the former president's speaking money has come from foreign sources. Outside the United States, clients are willing to pay more to hear him speak, Clinton is able to conduct his charitable work on AIDS, and he can avoid upstaging his wife on the American political scene, associates say.
On the face of it, I've got no problems with Clinton earning that sort of money, although I think the people who are paying him are generally
fools to do so, but its their money. There are, however, some questions I'd like to explore.
Questions for Debate:1} How does raking in this sort of money play when Hillary ramps up the class warfare rhetoric?2} How does this mesh with the theoretical ethic of campaign finance reform? These payments can easily be seen as a means of circumventing the campaign contributions laws.3} How open to charges of influence peddling is this likely to leave Hillary?