By Mitchell Blatt*
According to a Bombs and Dollars analysis of Hillary and Bill Clinton’s paid speeches over the past two years, the Clintons earned $2.5 million giving speeches to companies that also lobbied the State Department while Clinton was Secretary of State and donated to the Clinton Foundation.
In all, the Clintons raked in $25 million giving paid speeches in 2014 and 2015, according to financial records summarized by Politico, with Bill demanding higher fees per speech–$254,000 to $235,000.
The companies that lobbied, paid, and contributed to Clinton-related institutions were concentrated in the information technology and telecommunications industries.
|Group||Speaker||Number of Speeches||Total Speaking Fees||Amount Contributed to Clinton Fnd.|
|GE||Hillary Clinton||1||$225,500||Over $500,000|
|Salesforce.com||Hillary Clinton||2||$451,000||Over $125,000|
|Qualcomm||Hillary Clinton||1||$335,000||Over $103,000|
|Microsoft||Bill Clinton||1||$225,000||Over $26 million*|
|American Institute of Architects||Bill Clinton||1||$250,000||Over $50,000|
|AT&T||Bill Clinton||1||$225,000||Over $11,000|
|SAP||Bill Clinton||1||$250,000||Over $10,250|
|Telefonica||Bill Clinton||1||$175,000||Over $10,000|
|Oracle||Bill Clinton||1||$300,000||Over $250|
*Vox, which analyzed donations to the Clinton Foundation, included the Gates Foundation’s contributions. Donations reported by the Clinton Foundation are in ranges, so a company that gave over $125,000 could have given up to $300,000, for example.
Read on for a full analysis:
Vox analyzed Clinton Foundation donor records along with State Department lobbying records and found that 181 groups that lobbied the State Department during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State also donated to her charitable foundation. International Business Times found that a number of companies that lobbied and donated got weapons deals, and $165 billion in weapons sales were made to countries, including the UAE and Qatar, that did so.
According to a full analysis of Clinton speeches, the sector paying the most for members of the political couple to speak was finance, with finance and insurance firms spending $4.5 million over the two years to hear their words, including $675,000 from UBS Wealth Management. Public relations firms, mostly talent and event agencies, paid close to $3 million. The information technology and healthcare industries both paid over $2 million.
Not all of the speeches were made to companies. Some were made to trade groups, professional societies, or non-profit entities. One of Bill Cltinon’s highest-paying speeches, for example, was to EAT The Stockholm Food Forum, which is an event related to agriculture. Others were to networking groups like Young’s Presidents Organization or NGOs like Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies. For the purposes of our analysis, B+D only looked at payments made by companies and trade groups. (Professional societies, which are financed largely by members and meant to look after members’ interests, were excluded, even though some, like the Association of Corporate Counsel, clearly have a financial interest in policy.)
Bill Clinton took most of the Wall Street money, giving 13 speeches to banks or investment firms, including three to UBS, and one, for his biggest one-time fee, $500,000, to Bank of America in London. Both of them spoke to Deutsche Bank for over $270,000 each.
Hillary Clinton’s $1.7 million from healthcare and pharmaceutical groups included five speeches for trade groups that paid her an average of $260,000 each. One of those, AdvaMed, claims to represent 80 percent of medical technology firms in the U.S. and was one of the leaders in advocating for the repeal of Obamacare’s medical device tax (which is currently suspended for two years).
Among the top lobbyists in 2015, which spent over $10 million each lobbying that year, General Electric and AT&T are both represented on the speech list.
About the author:
*Mitchell Blatt moved to China in 2012, and since then he has traveled and written about politics and culture throughout Asia. A writer and journalist, based in China, he is the lead author of Panda Guides Hong Kong guidebook and a contributor to outlets including The Federalist, China.org.cn, The Daily Caller, and Vagabond Journey. Fluent in Chinese, he has lived and traveled in Asia for three years, blogging about his travels at ChinaTravelWriter.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @MitchBlatt.
This article was published by Bombs and Dollars.