The long term health of a republic depends upon transparency in the actions of its political leaders. Active vigilance is required to prevent any corruption on the part of elected leaders. To that end, I have compiled a list of the paid speeches given by Bill and Hillary Clinton in an Excel spreadsheet.
Between January 1, 2001 and May 14, 2015, Bill Clinton was paid to give 637 speeches which earned a total of $132,166,691 or an average of $207,483 per speech. Hillary Clinton was paid to give 91 speeches between April 18, 2013 and March 19, 2015 which earned a total of $21,442,000 or an average of $235,626 per speech. Together they earned a total $153,608,691.
It is important to keep in mind that almost all this money went directly into the pockets of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Never in the history of the US has the spouse of a Secretary of State or any other prominent officeholder been given large amounts of money to give speeches, so this is an unprecedented vehicle of possible corruption. It is accepted practice in American politics for public officeholders to grow wealthy after holding office by taking positions at firms which lobby the US government. It is even accepted that office holders may take positions at such firms before their term in office, such as when Richard Nixon worked at Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon before becoming president and Dick Cheney worked at Halliburton before becoming the vice-president. What has never been accepted before the Clintons was the idea of getting rich while in office, and pocketing money from so many different interests.
It becomes increasingly difficult to control corruption, when there are so many possible sources. When Dick Cheney was in office, the press reported on the benefits flowing to Halliburton from his term in office. In contrast, Bill Clinton gave 215 speeches which earned $48 million during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State. It is very hard to track down all the funders of those 215 speeches and check what benefits they might have received from the US government. It is especially difficult to know who put up the funds for a Clinton speech when its official sponsor is a non-profit, an educational organization or a trade association.
Many of the paid speeches which Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton gave on behalf of the Clinton Foundation were not reported, despite the fact that the U.S. Office of Government Ethics says that honoraria directed to a charity should be reported. It was especially incumbent that Bill Clinton’s speeches be publicly disclosed, since the issue of Bill’s speeches and the Clinton Foundation generated a controversy at the time when Hillary was confirmed as Secretary of State. After reports about 92 undisclosed speeches by the AP, the Clinton Foundation was forced to release a list of groups who paid for those speeches, which earned as much as $26.4 million for the Foundation.
One of the ways that Bill Clinton disputed Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash was to argue that that Schweizer got the facts wrong about his speeches. Schweizer writes that Dennis O’Brien, whose company Digicel was attempting to secure a contract for mobile phone service in Haiti, paid Bill Clinton $600,000 for 3 speeches in Ireland on Sept. 29, 2010, Oct. 8, 2011, and Oct. 9, 2013. A Clinton spokesperson, however, says that O’Brien didn’t pay for 2 out of the 3 of these speeches, but did give a donation to the Clinton Foundation after the 2010 speech. That means 1 out of the 3 speeches was compensated, but it doesn’t appear anywhere in the list of paid speeches which I compiled, nor does O’Brien’s name or any of his companies (Communicorp, Digicel, Esat Digifone or Topaz Energy) appear in the list of groups who have paid the Clinton Foundation for speeches. Clearly, the Clintons have not yet disclosed all of their speeches.
In addition, Vox compiled a list of 181 groups which lobbied the State Department while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and also have given donations to the Clinton Foundation. Unfortunately, these donations which totaled between $58,170,000 and $140,389,000 cannot be correlated with the time when these groups were lobbying the State Department, because the Clinton Foundation does not publicly release when donations are given, nor the exact amount. It only provides a list of contributors and a range of their contribution. To find a particular donor requires clicking through hundreds of pages on the Foundation’s website, since its search function does not work.
Hopefully I will have time in the coming weeks to analyze the list for possible violations of public corruption laws, but I encourage anyone who is interested to use my list for your own analysis.