Nice Work If You Can Get It: Bill And Hillary Rake In Millions On The Speaking Circuit
Bill and Hillary Clinton have done quite well for themselves of the speaking circuit.
Newly released documents reveal that Bill and Hillary Clinton have made $30 million giving speeches just in the last 16 months:
Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband made at least $30 million over the last 16 months, mainly from giving paid speeches to corporations, banks and other organizations, according to financial disclosure forms filed with federal elections officials on Friday.
The sum, which makes Mrs. Clinton among the wealthiest of the 2016 presidential candidates, could create challenges for the former secretary of state as she tries to cast herself as a champion of everyday Americans in an era of income inequality.
The $25 million in speaking fees since the beginning of last year continue a lucrative trend for the Clintons: They have now earned more than $125 million on the circuit since leaving the White House in 2001.
In addition, the report shows, Mrs. Clinton reported income exceeding $5 million from her memoir of her time as secretary of state, “Hard Choices.”
The Clintons’ riches have already become a subject of political attacks, and her campaign has been eager to showcase Mrs. Clinton as a more down-to-earth figure. Her only declared Democratic opponent at this point, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is an avowed socialist, while Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin have considerably more modest means.
A major dimension of Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy is expected to be policy proposals to narrow the gap between the rich and poor and to address stagnant wages. Yet she is far from those problems; while she said she and President Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House in early 2001, they are now part of the American elite.
The report makes clear that Mrs. Clinton, since leaving the State Department, has joined the family speechmaking business with gusto. But the former president can still command higher fees than his wife, collecting about an average of about $250,000 per speech to $235,000 for Mrs. Clinton.
And while Mr. Clinton’s largest honorarium was the $500,000 he collected from the EAT Stockholm Food Forum in Sweden, his wife’s engagements topped out at $350,000.
The disclosure forms cover Jan. 1, 2014 to May 14 of this year. They show that even as his wife has begun her pursuit of the presidency, Mr. Clinton has shown no signs of slowing down: He gave three speeches in recent days, including one Thursday for theAmerican Institute of Architects in Atlanta, and two on Tuesday in New York — one for Univision Management and one for Apollo Management Holdings.
The disclosure forms do not reveal what taxes the couple paid on their income, but a campaign official who requested anonymity said they had paid an effective tax rate of about 30 percent.
Mrs. Clinton’s last filing, which covered her final years as secretary of state, disclosed more than $16 million in income. Most of the money, mainly covering 2012, stemmed from about 70 honorariums for President Clinton.
The Clintons have come under increasing scrutiny for their financial activities since she announced her run for president last month. Much of the attention has been focused on the Clinton Foundation and thedonations it received from foreign entities during the time that she was secretary of state.
But the couple has also faced criticism for giving highly paid speeches to certain groups, particularly the financial industry.
As Politico notes, the disclosure doesn’t disclose the full amount of what the Clinton’s have earned from making speeches since it excludes those occasions where the honoraria was paid to the Clinton Foundation rather than directly to former President Clinton or his wife. This is contrary to the guidelines from the Office of Government Ethics, which state that honoraria directed to a charity should be reported in the same manner as those paid to an individual. It’s impossible to know how many speeches this may have covered, but it does appear that thery amounted to something more than a handful, which would mean that the Clinton’s earnings from speeches just since the beginning of 2014 is actually likely far north of the Additionally, Jonathan Allen at Vox is out with an extensive report on Hillary Clinton’s financial relationship with Corning, the New York based glass company, and the extent to which Corning directly lobbied the State Department during the time that she was Secretary of State and the company was making repeated large donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Given the latest revelations regarding donations to the Clinton Foundation during the time that Clinton was Secretary of State, this latest revelation raises eyebrows simply because it provides yet another insight into the manner in which the Clinton’s have managed to enrich themselves and their foundation by selling access to themselves. People aren’t paying Bill Clinton a half million dollars per speech, and Hillary Clinton $350,000 a speech because of their speaking abilities. They are paying them that much money to speak, and donating to the Foundation, because of the promise that it will buy them access to a former President of the United States and a former Senator and Secretary of State who has a very good chance of being the 45th President Of The United States. They believe that this access will buy them influence, and there’s plenty of evidence available to show that they’re correct, such as the case of a Canadian energy concern that was bought by one of Russia’s largest energy companies. If these businessmen and corporations didn’t believe that cozying up to the Clinton’s like this wasn’t going to inure to their benefit. The Clinton’s know this, and they’ve spent the fourteen years since Bill left office taking advantage of it. Even if it isn’t illegal, it’s sleazy and it’s not something we should want in a President, because if anyone doesn’t think that all these entities aren’t going to be looking for favors from a Hillary Clinton Administration they are incredibly naive.
These reports also revive an issue that became public last year after the release of Hillary Clinton’s book Hard Choices. As you may recall, during the tour for that book, Clinton was asked about the issue of all the money that the couple had made giving speeches, and in other ways, by saying that they were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001. It was a silly, ridiculous assertion that Clinton kept making on the book tour, and these revelations show just how silly it was. The Clintons have done quite well for themselves by selling access and friendship over the past fourteen years. The idea that they were anything close to “middle class” is quite simply absurd.
Doug, what is your point? I thought you were pro-capitalist. Now you’re bashing the wealthy? Jealousy, is it? Having a hard time making the mortgage this month? Your obsession with and obvious disapproval of the Clinton’s wealth and income is bizarre given your politics. Or have you abandoned libertarianism for Marxism?
Did you miss the part about access being sold, which is obviously what is going on here?
Or is it just that it’s forbidden to report anything negative about Her Majesty?
Access being sold? I’m giving a speech in Ohio in a few days and I’m getting paid. Is that me selling access?
Access to what? Is either Clinton currently in government? And since when did you care about paying for access? You’re a vocal defender of every court decision that corrupts American politics.
I’ll venture a guess: you’ve still got a puritan sensibility about money. Wealth = Virtue, so Virtue must equal wealth, and it bothers your underlying moral sensibility that people you don’t like have money. How can those nasty Clintons be rich? Money is for folks like Sheldon Adelson, who make their money exploiting compulsive gamblers.
They give speeches. They get paid to do so. It’s less about access that star power. The speaker attracts attendees and media attention for whichever group they are speaking to. My wife just gave a speech in Utah and was paid. What do you figure, the Provo library wanted “access?”
Come on Doug. You should know better than to shed light on anything that may, in some manner, be cast as negative when it comes to the Clintons and the heir apparent. Hillary could strangle a Downs Syndrome child on live TV with her bare hands and Fox would be the only media outlet that reported it.
If you think Bill Clinton is being paid $500,000 just to give a speech then you’re being incredibly naive
Er, you ARE the guy that thinks that unlimited secret PAC contributions to political candidates are A-OK and just free speech, right?. I just want to be sure about this, because I somehow can’t see how political candidates directly selling themselves to the highest bidder is sleazier that the Clintons charging huge speaker fees-a source of income pioneered by Saint Ronaldus Magnus, who charged up to $2M for a speaking tour of Japan.
AFTER he left the White House and with no more power than the title “Former President”.
But yeah, in your mind a former president who’s spouse in Secretary of state and then the undisputed frontrunner for President and Reagan are exactly the same.
Wow! We went from “The One” to “Her Majesty” seemingly in milliseconds!
I’m not sure what an organization has to gain from access to Bill Clinton at this point and he’s certainly not the only ex politician taking money to make speeches. George W. Bush has certainly accepted a lot of money for his speaking engagements since seeking office but we don’t know how much as he isn’t, like Bill, required to disclose that information.
It seems being the wife of a candidate is more onerous than being the brother of a (as yet unannounced) candidate.
Does the fact that Bill Clinton rake in big bucks for public speeches bother me? Not at all. Frankly I don’t know why his income from that even makes these articles.
Am I concerned that Hillary Clinton has made a lot of money as well from her speeches? Not at all. Because we know about that income as well as her husbands. We know who provided it and how much was paid.
Basically, it’s transparent and people can make their own judgements on it as well as her candidacy.
As for the literally billions of utterly non transparent expenditures in an attempt to affect outcomes in US elections and the operation of our government both from private citizens and corporations?
Well, that’s irrelevant to Doug. Then again he does hail from George Mason. At least Liberty University graduates are more transparent.
What else do you think that Clinton did for EAT Stockholm Food Forum?
I think Michael knows as well as anyone what the deal is with the Clintons and the way they make their money. He is just having a little fun with you. I don’t really take him seriously.
I think we are seeing the well known IOKIYAR rule, here, Michael. in the meantime, for something truly sleazy, check out this:
If this is not an example of an American oligarch outright buying a presidential nominee , I don’t know what is. But hey, according to Doug, that’s fine-but speaker fees are sleazy!
So what did GMU do for it’s $30,000,000 exactly? And what entity other than the Koch Family Charitable Foundations has given more to your Alma Mater Doug?
No influence buying there. Nothing to see here, move along.
Why don’t you explain in concrete terms without McCarthyite insinuations just what you think Bill Clinton does for people.
I explained why Bill gets 500k to give a speech. It’s the same reason I get 4k to give a speech. Now, I’m an egomaniac, but I really can’t argue that Bill Clinton’s star power isn’t at least 125 times greater than mine. In fact, I’d say if a speech by me is worth 4 grand, Bill ought to be making a thousand times more, which would be four million. I’m a B-level kidlit author, he’s the former POTUS, the former Most Powerful Man On Earth and the current Most Beloved Politician.
What I do for the four grand I get is judge a contest and deliver a speech. The sponsors have no input whatsoever into what I say. I do no one any favors. Couple years ago my wife did it and though she’s influential here at home she has no power to grant favors. I’m just there because they couldn’t afford Rick Riordan or Veronica Roth. I’m there to fill the role of “well-known writer person.” That’s it.
So, actually, you’re the one being naive. The value of money is relative to one’s wealth and income. In other words, you can’t even come close to buying me for 4 grand, and you can’t even think about buying Bill Clinton for 500 grand. Not saying we aren’t both potentially for sale, everyone has his price, but it ain’t 4 or 500 respectively.
Look, it’s one thing if Doug was one of those good government liberals who was concerned about the influence of big money in the politics. But Doug is a fervent supporter of Citizens United, a SCOTUS decision that blew the doors off any limitation of the flow of big money into politics. In a sense, Doug built this current world of unlimited big money flows to political candidates. So for him to be objecting to the Clintons using this legit means of enriching themselves is peculiar, to say the least.
So OK, Doug, explain why Rubio being some billionaire’s pet is better than Clinton speaker fees.
Doug is explicitly in favor of a Supreme Court decision that makes such influence peddling perfectly OK. Maybe you can explain for him why what the Clintons are legally doing is so wrong.
@michael reynolds: there’s nothing wrong with making money- a tough pill to swallow when you realize liberals do it though!? and you can’t think for a minute that anyone wants to hear what bill clinton wants to say for more than $10,000 a pop.
so yes, they’re selling their influence and doing quite nicely with it- and she’s not “one of us”- never was and never will be.just because they have nobody else running doesn’t mean you need to make excuses for her sleaziness.
obama can’t wait to hit the speakers circuit- he’ll make way more money doing way less work.
so once again, the clintons are part of the 1%- they don’t “create” jobs with their money (aside from the foundation wonks) and they don’t really care about anything but themselves.
Maybe Doug can explain why Ronald Reagan was worth a $2M speaking tour of Japan in 1990 and why that wasn’t sleazy. I’ll wait.
You are as usual a prisoner of the echo chamber. Liberals don’t have a problem making money. We like money just fine. I spend most of my work day trying to get more of it. We like money, we just don’t have a problem sharing some of it. We are the kids who in kindergarten used to share our toys. So your underlying assumption is silly.
Beyond that you’re just being dense. I just explained that I get 4k. You really think I should 4k and the former president shouldn’t get more than 10k? That’s just idiotic.
And I will patiently await either you or Doug explaining just what service you think Bill Clinton does for a half mill. You know what half a mill is to Clinton? It’s fifty bucks to you.
To quote Chris Rock, ‘If Poor People Knew How Rich Rich People Are, There Would Be Riots’. The 500 grand Clinton gets paid comes from the attendees who pay whatever they pay. Do you imagine that they line up afterward, all 200 or thousand people and hand Clinton little Post-it notes with what they want him to get them? No. They got a selfie with the ex-POTUS to put on their office ego wall.
Bill is not running. Scott Walker is, and he’s the Koch Brothers’ new purse poodle, so if you’re looking for political payola, why not look there? Because Koch is spending real money, and Walker is running a real race, whereas Bill is not.
@bill: “so yes, they’re selling their influence and doing quite nicely with it- and she’s not “one of us”-”
And what, precisely, defines “one of us”? Because whatever it is, I’m pretty sure I’m not one of you either, and if I ever discovered any way in which I was I would do my damndest to change it.
Yes, it’s been -de facto – forbidden since 1993. That’s why there have been no negative news stories about the Clintons in over 20 years.
Okay, I’m in. Why is the the SF Bay Area, a dominantly liberal area, the most affluent metropolitan region in America, and the home to major digital, biotech, biomedical and scientific innovation in America and the world?
Heck, even Michael Savage (Wiener) – the man who hates liberals and liberalism passionately – chooses to live in the heartland of liberal affluence, in Southern Marin County, just north of San Francisco. Why doesn’t he live with like-minded people – in Oklahoma City or say Dallas?
@michael reynolds: There are actually two reasons for paying Clinton this much money to speak:
One is to say “look how important we are, we’ve got Clinton speaking.”
And the other reason is to say “look how important we are, we paid Clinton this much to speak.”
It’s like that Picasso that sold for $200 million last week. Why did it go for more than any other painting in history? So that its owner could have the most expensive painting in history.
How old did you say you are? 15?
You do realize don’t you, that half of the liberals you are arguing with here are commenting from their hillside homes in liberal California?
And the reason we have nice hillside homes in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world? Because we like making money and are pretty good at it.
The difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals don’t have the “I’ve got mine, now everybody else kindly f**k off and die” attitude that is central to modern conservatism.
BTW, I’m commenting from my hillside living room. The view is great 🙂
Googled “Her Majesty” Clinton.
Jon Stewart used “On her Majesty’s Secret Server” as a pun for a bit about her mail server.
Otherwise it seems to be used by neo-Confederate/racist Stacy McCain, Townhall, and the cesspool Free Republic.
I wonder where Doug picked it up.
Help me out here, liberal commenters. Doug is a supporter of Citizens United, a decision that explicitly blesses the flow of big money-big secret money- into politics. Indeed, he wrote a paean to the decision yesterday, pillorying Clinton for daring the question of wisdom of a decision that dismantled all attempts to limit campaign financing.
Yet he has been busy posting one attack on the Clinton’s financing after another, indicating that there is something uniquely sleazy about Clintons. What gives?
It seems like conservatives actually are angling to present themselves as the “good government” , reformist people against the “sleazy”, big money Clintons. Now can they possibly do that, since they in fact built the big secret donor machine that’s corrupting US politics from top to bottom? Given the fact that the typical conservative voter is an idiot sheep led around by Fox and given the fact that liberals love to shoot at each other, rather than the enemy, they just might be able to pull it off.
Am I being too much of a conspiracy theorist here?
We need someone who will represent the working people. Someone like Carter, or Truman.
Why do rich people pay huge amounts for famous artists to perform at their private parties or their kids’ parties? Is it to be able to influence them? Make them change their set lists for their next tour?
@wr: This reminds me a lot of CEO pay. With its ever escalating pay increases. Once someone is paid $500,000 the next person raises their fees because hey if person x is worth that much surely I’m worth this. It is all part of the weird prestige game played by the super rich. These are the people who hoard wealth to beat the more super rich person down the street who’s yacht is slightly longer. A picture with a prominent politician for their wall, or getting them to speak for your charity or club, or trying to buy an election.
@michael reynolds: No one want access to you, or your wife, unless you’re able to grant some political or business favors we are all unaware of. Please don’t be obtuse. You’re too smart for that.
Exactly, it’s a “get” for the ambitious or the star-struck. In this context Bill Clinton’s a celebrity, not a politician. The same groups that pay him to speak would pay as much to get Bono or George Clooney.
You simply must attend my soiree, I was able to get Bill Clinton! Tout le monde will be there, dahling, and it’s for such a good cause. We’re raising money for cute animals with big eyes!
I’m still waiting for someone to explain what Bill Clinton can do for anyone beyond appearing and being Bill Clinton. Be specific. What can former president Bill Clinton do? What did Ronald Reagan do for Japan?
These are not campaign contributions, and Bill’s not running.
I wonder what Doug thinks of CEO money, which studies show is unrelated to CEO performance and appears obscenely high compared to the pay of the average corporate employee? Does he think of such pay as absurd and outrageous?
Heh, I amuse myself.
Now I actually do think there is a case to be made that the kind of influence selling done by Clintons should be looked at and regulated. But Doug certainly isn’t the guy to make that case. In fact, if Doug were consistent, he would be defending the Clinton’s actions as just more example of the wonderful free market at work, along with the First Amendment. After all, if money is speech, aren’t the donors and those who pay the speaker fees just expressing their appreciation of the Clintons? Nothing wrong with that is there?
For $500K, people get a rock star, they get bragging rights, and they get a powerful draw to their event. They get to tell their other wealthy friends how they had a martini with Bill Clinton. Oh, and also here’s a nice photo of Bill & I kickin’ it to put on my office wall.
Seriously Doug, do you not know that half a mill is walking around money to the super-rich?
Whenever I hear conservatives/libertarians talk about rich folks, I wonder if they actually know any. Because they certainly don’t seem to have a clue about the world that 1%ers live in.
Do you apply that same reasoning to the big money donors pouring money into the PACS of Republican Presidential nominees?
I only come here to read the comments and this comment string is a prime example (except for “Moderate Mom” who was the one being obtuse). I have to give Doug Mataconis credit for laying bare his prejudices and subjecting them to public criticism, if not ridicule.
Well we are discussing this, let’s keep in mind that Paris Hilton gets 250K to show up at people’s parties. I mean… Paris Hilton. And all they get is she shows up at their party so they get the photo op and they can show their friends how they get celebrities at their parties.
“If you think Bill Clinton is being paid $500,000 just to give a speech then you’re being incredibly naive ”
And someone said just recently, “it’s worth noting that there’s simply no evidence that the independent expenditures that Citizens United authorizes have had any negative impact on the political system.” Who was it, Doug? Oh wait, it was you.
That’s not so much the question. The question is what can Hillary Clinton do? And what can she potentially do? Lady Hillary, as we have remembered yours, so remember us when you come into your presidentship.
But you support Citizens United which expressly for the rich to buy access.
You seem conflicted.
Given Doug’s fervent support for the Citizens United ruling and his previously stated opposition to any attempts to control or limit campaign contributions, I can only assume that the problem here is that the Clintons are not direct enough about selling access. She should be kissing the ring of George Soros and humbly accepting whatever contribution he chooses to give her, thus clearly making herself the “Soros Candidate” just as Republicans strive to become the Adelson Candidate or the Koch Candidate.
Or perhaps the problem is that instead of owing fealty to a single incredibly wealthy individual and will instead be balancing the interests and needs of multiple groups and interests.
@michael reynolds: If someone could prove that influence was being peddled wouldn’t Mr. and Mrs. Clinton be getting charged with a crime? Do I think they’re sleazy? Certainly, always have, always will. Didn’t vote for him either time and don’t think his administration would have been as noteworthy if the GOP hadn’t had such a h##d #n about him. Also I credit some of the policies that came in the waining years of his administration with contributing to the toxic mortgage problem. Still, when I compare Hillary with the current insame clown posse that is her opponents, I am reminded of a saying attributed to John Calvin:
George Stephy said that no one gives money to the Clintons without expecting something in return. And he’s known them for decades.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Link? Or is asking for corroboration too much for you?
Well if that’s the case, why does she command so much less than Bill? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to pay her $400k and cut out the middleman?
Oh come off it James. Who’s being naive now? Name me a politician that doesn’t have a few hundred chits out there (excluding Warren, she might still be pure) waiting to be collected on.
As to the millions she has made… Really? I mean Really? After Romney you have the gall to complain about Clinton?
Pot? Kettle on line one…
500K buys you a photo op and three minutes of chit chat with POTUS. Maybe a seat for a dinner at the White House. If you want to know what really buys influence in the White House, look at the cash showered on the Bush family by the Saudis over many decades. Hint – it ain’t in six figures.
I’m not sure what a “presidentship” is. I think we all know what a “Presidency” is.
You might want to get up to say, the level of someone who has completed a high school civics class, then get back to us.
@Jenos Idanian #13: “George Stephy said that no one gives money to the Clintons without expecting something in return. And he’s known them for decades.”
Would that be the same man you keep insisting is an unethical liar? And now he’s the font of your wisdom?
My former boss, who is not known to 99.9 percent of the public, but who produced several huge films in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, used to get $25K for speaking at colleges or Corporate Retreats. He was represented by the Speaker’s Bureau – http://www.apbspeakers.com/ – and he had a gig as often as he wanted it.
$500K for a former President is chump change. It’s simple math. You get 500 people, who pay $2000 each for lunch and a speech by Clinton.. (or 400 people @ $2500, or 100 people @ $10,000). The more exclusive, the higher the per person price. Simply put, that’s $1,000,000, an easy million. You pay the former president $500,000. You pay the venue $100,000 for the room, the food, security, Audio Video equipment, the comped rooms for the president and his Secret Service detail. After all is said and done, the SuperPac, the Corporation, the Club, the College, the Trade Group, the Charity, whoever put together the event has $400,000 profit, minimum, for the event.
The only thing they need from Bill Clinton is for him to show up and be Bill Clinton. That alone makes people want to pay money. He can’t offer anything else. But, today, and the foreseeable future, being Bill Clinton is good person to be.
I think Doug secretly, in his heart of hearts, want to be Bill Clinton.
That’s totally not true, I live high up in a downtown So. Cal luxury tower looking out over the bay. The hill is back behind us.
The difference is that when people pay your for a speech, they are paying you for a speech. They’re not hoping to get access to the halls of power or hoping that you’ll pass laws they want or work out trade deals for them or give them tax breaks. It’s been obvious since Clinton left State that she intends to run for President. Actually, it’s been obvious since January 2001. Can you honestly not see the difference between paying a writer to give a speech and paying a future President and their family members for a speech? Come on.
The point is not that this should banned or anything (or even that they are necessarily corrupt). The point is that when the Clintons rail about corruption in government and Citizens United, they are flaming hypocrites. They are more than happy to take piles of money and work their influence on behalf of their donors (see the link on Corning). The choice isn’t between some nobel reformers and the Koch-backed villains. It’s which group of bought and paid-for politicians you prefer. I’m reminded of when they first ran for office and railed about the “decade of greed”. As PJ O’Rourke quipped at the time, their hand-wringing turned out to be standing in the Rose Garden flogging themselves with their own Gucci loafers.
Since he stopped being Governor, has Jeb Bush – knowing was going to run for President in the future – refrained from paid speeches? No.
Did he get paid to sit on boards of companies for which he had little, if nothing to do? Yes.
You know who else gives alot of Paid Speeches? Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum. Newt Gingrich. Ben Carson. Mike Huckabee. And a whole host of others in the GOP that you, nor our Mr. Mataconis, seems to give two sh**s about.
Hmmn…. I’m thinking you are already suffering from CDS, and she’s not even president yet.
I find that you hold the Clinton’s to a very different standard than you hold others to be quite revealing.
Actually, some of the people who pay me think I can get them published. I can’t.
We are either going to do something about First Ladies/Gentlemen or we have to keep hands off. Are they employees? Do they have some official role? Because if not then we don’t really have any business criticizing them, do we?
So we have a candidate named Hillary Clinton. She has a husband who gives speeches. No question that people who invite the hubby to speak are hoping that he will think kindly of them and may even hope that his kind thoughts will become hers and then there will be policy. Or at least, access. But I’m sure you’d agree that just about anyone who was paying Mr. Clinton to speak is a wealthy Democratic-leaning person or organization and would by virtue of that already have access. Or do you think Steven Spielberg’s calls are only returned by the White House because of cash changing hands?
Can you explain to me how that’s morally different than any lobbying effort? Because here’s how it’s different legally: Bill Clinton does not work for us anymore. We the people have no say in what Bill Clinton does with his time. We never have had a say in what First Spouses do to make a living.
Doug, you don’t know what you are talking about. Ex-politicians, former athletes, famous for a day heros, etc aren’t paid $20k to $500k for these speeches so the hosts can get access. They are paid that much to put a headliner up on the marquee for some trade show or gathering of self proclaimed very important people. Over the years I’ve gone to trade shows for various industries (printing, packaging, medical devices). These are huge shows involving hundreds of millions of dollars spent and at least one day they have a keynote with a huge headliner that matches the “importance” of the show and demonstrates to the attendees and exhibitors just how big and must-go this conference is. I’ve attended one by GHW Bush and one by Clinton, but for the most part I give them a pass. A couple of years ago there was one that substituted five lesser knowns on a panel rather than one big name. I think one of them was Huckabee but may be mis-remembering. In any case, all the sponsors want are names they can tout and the basic speaking skills that any national level politician presents.
I was surprised to see Doug waded into the comments for even two responses. It seems he comments less and less, I’m assuming because his straight-up double standards are so familiar to the readership now it’s painful to see him try to justify it. So he just lobs out these grenades and leaves the room.
Look, I’m a Republican. Yes, a moderate Republican, but still a card-carrying member of the GOP. I will likely vote for Bush over Clinton, but I’m on the fence. Frankly I have a ton of respect for Bernie Sanders because the dude must be a straight-shooter if he’s willing to go on record being the American equivalent of the Boogie Man. I’m not fan of Hillary Clinton. Looking back, the Bill Clinton years were great, and I’d vote him in for a third at this point. And I would be pretty willing to consider Gore if he changed his mind.
But DOUG – everyone here knows you love the “both sides do it” when your side is being attacked. So the effort you’ve been making to attack Clinton lately – every other article is a potshot and every picture you choose has to be the most unflattering you can find – makes me feel like I’m at WorldNetDaily. I can’t take you seriously when you are dead silent or even defensive on the ring-kissing of Sheldon “Zionist” Adelson and other GOP moneymen, yet Clinton’s open profiting is treated as the devil’s work. The Clinton Foundation is seeming like a bit of a boondoggle politically, and I’m suspect about the way it’s been handled, but I’m still feeling WAY more transparent about the Clintons than a lot of what’s going on with the conservative super PACs.
Clinton has got some baggage, and some of it may be serious. I really want to see some candidates I can really get behind in this election, but the older I get and, ostensibly wiser, the sadder it makes me to realize there’s no such thing as a candidate I can be “passionate” about and go canvassing for in the pure, naive belief that they are a force for good. I think part of the disease is that those that want to be politicians are not the people WE’D want to be in a perfect world. But you keep pretending you’re not essentially a GOP operative, but rather some libertarian free spirit. Act like it, and call B.S. in every corner, or drop the pretensions of independence.
@MarkedMan: oh and for what it’s worth: Clintons speech was actually interesting. His was at the big medical informatics show and, god bless him, at his core Bill is a geek. I’m not claiming he had his writers craft a unique speech just for this occasion but it was pretty obvious that he had a wide range of previous material to draw on and that some of it was quite relevant. Deep into the weeds and lots of statistics and factoids that he seemed very comfortable reeling off. He had obviously thought and talked about some of these issues quite a bit and was enthusiastic and funny and charming.
HW’s was on international trade and that was during my packaging days so it was moderately relevant. He was a solid speaker but was more obviously giving a boilerplate. From the sponsors POV though, I’m sure they were equally successful. “This show is so important we have a former president speaking here!!!!!!”
You have to keep in mind that OTB or more specifically, James, is very above board concerning it’s writers. Provided the writer in question is James.
Yet a cursory perusal of the site will show that Doug is, by far, the main contributor. Currently of over 30 articles only one OTBis not posted by Doug.
So basically James has handed over this blog to Doug. Get used to it.
And think about that when you prime the pump with clickbait. All we know is that the guy with a JD from GMU is effectively running the blog and you should know more than that. Maybe he works for a major firm. Perhaps he is running his own firm. Who knows. But I can imagine there are a lot of GMU alumni/supporters that would be happy to pay his bills for this service.
If your aim was to show that the Clintons are exactly the same as the Republicans- well, you’ve failed.
Who the hell ever thought that? Look, I’m a liberal. But I am not a purist. I know that the Clintons are flawed and too close to the Wall Street. But there is a difference between being too close to Wall Street and being the paid servants and lackeys of Wall Street, which is what the Republican candidates are, without exception.
Besides in modern elections, when you vote for a party, you vote for a program. Personality is secondary to policy nowadays: and the Democrats remain the party of sane policy, while the Republicans are the party of insane policy. Once you understand that, then you would have to be a damned fool to allow the insane policy party to take over the Presidency by voting for the insane policy party, or by not voting at all.
@michael reynolds: good for you, you get paid to speak.
lets say you have a wife- we’ll call her mrs. mike. one day mrs. mike gets bored that mr mike is on the road working/making money,etc. so she decides to run for the city council or something.
now let’s say some people take note that your wife would be a good candidate who’s sympathetic to their cause, so all of the sudden you get more speaking gigs and they throw way more money at you….just ’cause! they make it known that they want some ear time with mrs. mike and just by some zany coincidence they hit it off, and the money flows in and mrs. mike wins the seat on the council. now nothing really weird happened as they were all on the same page and such, shared similar ideologies,etc. and she basically does what she would have done and they wanted her to…..but what about the people who didn’t want that and didn’t have supporters with deep pockets?!
that’s what this is about- save your fear of the kochs please.
Or intellectually dishonest.
Jesus, Bill, would you figure out which side you’re on? You’re a Republican who apparently hates successful people.
Taking the hypothetical you offer, are you suggesting the government has some right to tell me I can’t work for fear of my work influencing my candidate wife? Or are you demanding that every candidate’s spouse quit any job tangentially related to politics? Are you aware that Justice Thomas’ wife is a GOP hack, to take just one example? Are you aware that candidate’s spouses have rights of their own?
No, the question is why do you think Hillary would want to do anything for anyone, just because her husband got a nice speaking fee.
The Clintons are worth ~$60 million. Since they certainly have financial managers at least as good as mine, they probably draw at least $10 million per year in income from that, even before they bother getting up in the morning. A basic rule of bribery is that you have to offer something that noticeably changes the status or happiness of the bribed person. $500k to Bill ain’t gonna do it. Frankly, $5M to Hillary probably wouldn’t do it.
As Captain-Pilot John Blackthorne noted above, only someone who really doesn’t grok what it means to be rich could mistake this for influence-peddling. (And, pre-emptively, yes I would say the same thing if we were talking about Mitt Romney…)
@wr: @Stonetools: And the rest with a short attention span: here’s where I first brought up Stephy’s interview by Jon Stewart, where he gives the money quote.
And here are exact words: “… but everybody also knows that when those donors give that money to President Clinton or someone, they get a picture with him… there’s a hope that that will lead to something…”
The amount of cognitive dissonance is staggering. Ok. Let us assume your presumption that the Clintons can be bought for a 500K fee or a 50k donation to their foundation is true. The Clintons are therefore corrupt because people have bought “access” and “influence” with this money.
Yet you have no problem with the political free-for-all and billions of dark money that Citizens United has unleashed. Not only do you have no problem, you declare that the is no evidence that those millions of non-audited, non-disclosed dollars spent has had any negative impact on the political process. So are you claiming that money billionaires spend on candidates in an election year does NOT buy them “access” and “influence?”
That’s a pretty bold claim. I’d like to see you write an article about it.
Re: Reagan’s speaking fees. That money and those connections came in right handy when Nancy later served in the Senate and held a cabinet position, and then later ran for president on her own…
As are Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians (like Doug) when they rail about the Clintons…
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Your link needs nowhere, FWIW.Could you correct it?
The exact words sound quite innocuous(big surprise, eh, folks?)
@Jenos Idanian #13:
You keep repeating that. Do you have a crush on Stephanopoulos?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Seriously, get a grip. It may be beyond your comprehension, but 500K is Monopoly money to the Clintons. It buys you a speech, a photo op, and some kind words about your organization. That’s it. It does not get you “When I am President, give me a call – I will hook you up.”
Are you as big of a yokel as you seem to be?
I believe that Justice Thomas is not swayed by his wife’s employers.
His vote on every issue is entirely and utterly predictable. No one can sway him — not with facts, not with legal arguments, and not with money.
@Stonetools: Sorry I messed up the link. Here’s a direct one. The key part is just after the 4:00 minute mark.
@anjin-san: You keep repeating that. Do you have a crush on Stephanopoulos?
Seriously,learn to read. I said above that I was tired of typing “Stephanopoulos,” so I shortened it. And the nickname “Stephy” has a very honored place on this site — see here for a previous usage in an extremely familiar context.
We really are heading into the summer reruns…
My thought would be that people who are rich bestow money. People in politics striving for wealth and power collect money and sell influence, as that is all they have.
@DrDaveT: The Clintons are worth ~$60 million.
And they apparently made a significant chunk of that in just the last 16 months.
Hillary isn’t doing anything that isn’t being done by, essentially, everybody else and Doug’s hypocrisy has been well noted.
It is depressing, however, when people who otherwise would complete acknowledge the problems, potential problems and problematic appearance of this level of money sloshing in and around our politics turn into Officer Barbrady just because the Clintons enter the equation.
I believe that I have figured out the source of Doug’s Clinton fixation.
Just brilliant really. The right , who at are war and know they are in a war, knows that there are plenty of useful idiots on the left who can be prodded into circular firing mode. They therefore spread agitprop aimed at provoking just that (Not all the sheep are on the right).
Now is Doug working directly for these groups? I’d like to think not. I would like to thinking he is posting on the Clintons merely because his friends over at Twitchy and Hot Air, who ARE working for these groups, are posting anti-Clinton stuff and he is following the crowd (Not all useful idiots are on the left).
It’s just interesting to understand that there sometimes really is a right wing conspiracy out there…
It will be interesting to see whether Doug keeps up the drumbeat of hypocritical and dishonest attacks on Hillary. Then we’ll know.
The post you link to there does not say what you think it says. Presuming you thought it was some sort of slam-dunk on Clintonian corruption by moneyed interests as opposed to what it actually was: the appearance of corruption.
Nietzsche had a funny thing about appearances I’ve always liked, and it almost never gets quoted because no one “into Nietzsche” who isn’t a scholar reads The Gay Science:
There’s a part after this about how calling out appearances over essences is a foolhardy exercise I didn’t include because (a) I don’t agree with him on that, and (b) it would shame pretty much every commenter on this site, troll or otherwise. 🙂
Still, I think it’s useful for us to realize it’s not corruption Doug is concerned over, it is the appearance of possible corruption. This appearance is only available because we’re discussing legally-disclosed finances. Since “Citizens United” money is not disclosed, there is no appearance and nothing worth discussing. It’s a very simple paradigm, I don’t see why you guys are all up in arms over it. 😀
@Jenos Idanian #13:
You have a long history of using annoying nicknames for people that you mistakenly think are clever. So no, your little explanation does not pass the smell test.
I read you just fine pal.
Thanks for the Nietzsche reference. Do that more often! :-).
The problem is that Doug isn’t saying that the greater corruption is happening at Citizens United-sanctioned secret PACs. Indeed he specifically defended PAC money as just simple, innocent free speech. No it’s Clinton’s publicly disclosed charitable donations and speaking fees that he derides as ” sleazy” ( another word for “corrupt”.)
So no, Doug is not off the hook on this, until and unless he condemns Republican PAC money as equally, if not more, corrupt than anything the Clintons have yet done. If he doesn’t, then we need to revisit who he is really working for.
Now just maybe is he is the kind of ideologically blind person who can engage in double-think and not know he is double-thinking, but I thought he was too smart for that.
I’ll know that there’s more to this story when it is disclosed that Vince Foster made a $2,000,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation after he paid $500,000 to have Bill Clinton speak at the Vince Foster Right-To-Life Fundraiser in Ferguson, Missouri.
I prefer my Presidential candidates to make money the old fashioned way. By using OPM in an LBO, firing employees and then cashing in.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
in my old business, there was a saying “If you wish [for your quote, allow me to substitute “hope” as synonymous] in one hand and s#!t in the other, don’t be surprised that one always fills up first.”
Now, I realize that I am feeding the troll, but do you seriously expect us to believe that the statement that Stephy provided resolves as proof of quid pro quo when it’s the Clintons? That hope almost always turns into reality? Really?
(Cue Jenos “I’m only providing the quote requested” in 4…3….2…)
You really have questions about what side Doug is on and who he is stumping for? Really?
@stonetools: Yeah. Instead of writing all that, I went with a 😀
@anjin-san: Not that I give a faded fart about your opinion, but I was going to call him “Steffy” when I went poking through the archives to see how he’d been treated in the past. Out of respect for our host, I used his spelling.
But his full name is a pain in the ass (or, rather, the wrists) to type.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Whatever dude. Pursue your Stephanopoulos obsession as you see fit. You’ve latched on to a winning argument there for sure 🙂
@anjin-san: Obsession? This is the first time I’ve had reason to discuss him. A fairer question would be why you’re so eager to protect him.
I kind of like what IowaHawk said: Stephy’s hasn’t worked for the Clintons so hard since he worked for the Clintons.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Is CTRL]c, [CTRL]p really that difficult?
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Well, since I have not defended him, I will just chalk this up as yet another position that you’ve invented for me.
Yes, that explains people like Rubio. People in politics who already have wealth and power don’t have to bargain. They don’t need to provide a quid for the quo, because the would-be briber has no leverage over them.
If I were in Bill Clinton’s shoes, I would happily collect speaking fees and honoraria (and donations to my foundations) from anyone and everyone, and chuckle quietly to myself every night (as I sip my Fonseca 1977 in front of the fire) about how there’s one born every minute.
It is amazing to observe that the same people who have no problem with turning Congress into Whores “R” Us are getting the vapors over the Clintons…pull out the selective fainting couches and the selective smelling salts for all of this selective outrage…
@An Interested Party:
This. I’m still trying to understand how these legal donations to a charity are somehow even newsworthy given the current state of campaign financing.
@Jenos Idanian #13:
@Jenos Idanian #13:
Such fail, the quote you submitted shows that your original statement was incorrect. Expecting does not equal hoping.
1. I expect you to pay me the $1000 you borrowed from me at the end of the month.
2. I hope that you will pay me the $1000 you borrowed from me at the end of the month.
1. I expect to win the lottery.
2. I hope to win the lottery.
Yes, but if you use bold when you are lying about what someone said, it magically becomes the truth.
Of course Jenos may not be lying. It’s certainly possible that he simply does not know what he is talking about. There is a lot of precedent for that.
@Doug Mataconis: “Or is it just that it’s forbidden to report anything negative about Her Majesty?”
‘Her Majesty’? Please, stop playing stupid games.
@Jack: “Come on Doug. You should know better than to shed light on anything that may, in some manner, be cast as negative when it comes to the Clintons and the heir apparent. Hillary could strangle a Downs Syndrome child on live TV with her bare hands and Fox would be the only media outlet that reported it.”
My bet is on the ‘liberal’ media pulling up each and every Clinton ‘scandal, no matter how debunked. It beats doing honest, hard work.
@anjin-san: “…look at the cash showered on the Bush family by the Saudis over many decades. Hint – it ain’t in six figures.”
Yes, it probably is – for these guys ‘one’ is $10,000 🙂
Doug: “Finally, it’s worth noting that there’s simply no evidence that the independent expenditures that Citizens United authorizes have had any negative impact on the political system.”