Hillary’s Speaking Fee Could Cost This Non-Profit 10 Percent Of Its Budget

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Mar 19, 2015 10:50 AM
Hillary’s Speaking Fee Could Cost This Non-Profit 10 Percent Of Its Budget

With Hillary and her team getting all this 2016 campaign stuff in order, why not add a speaking gig along the way. She plans to address The Camp Association of New Jersey and New York in Atlantic City today. Yet, there’s no news if Clinton will be paid her usual speaking fee for the occasion. If that’s the case, then she will cost the Camp Association, a non-profit, 10 percent of its annual budget (via Boston Globe):

Hillary Clinton is hiring staff in Iowa and New Hampshire. She’s beefing up her press operation. She’s reaching out to Hispanic leaders.

But even as she continues ramping up a likely 2016 presidential candidacy, there’s another paid speaking stop on the books this week: The American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey.

It’s a not-for-profit organization that may be spending up to 10 percent of its $2 million budget to land Clinton for the Thursday speech in Atlantic City, if the former first lady is charging her usual fee of $200,000. The camp confirmed she would be paid for the appearance, but didn’t disclose the size of the fee. Clinton’s office declined to comment.

Her decision to squeeze in another paid address presents a public reminder of Clinton’s skillful use of her prominent profile to land whopping fees for herself and her family’s charitable empire. Her persistence in sticking to her speaking schedule, meanwhile, despite intense controversy it has generated, shows how two decades in the public spotlight seem to have inured her to much criticism.

Clinton initially asked to be paid $300,000 when she agreed to speak at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Foundation last year. She settled for $225,000, according to according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, which obtained her contract via a public records request. The terms required that the university pay for a transcript of the event and stipulated that Clinton would only pose for 50 photographs. Students there asked Clinton to donate her fee to the university.

When she appeared at the University of Buffalo in October 2013, the fee was $275,000, according to a copy of the contract obtained by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit research group that did records request for the document.

Her royal highness was paid $300,000 to speak at UCLA, though an investor, who contributes to UCLA’s lecture circuit, covered her fee. She was given another $300,000 to discuss the ills of the middle class at Silicon Valley in February.

After the email fiasco–and developments that her server wasn’t secure–you have to wonder if Hillary is done with the optics game. I think any politician with decades in the limelight will be “inured” to public scrutiny, but even they know it’s probably not the best idea to return to business as usual and pretend that this whole matter, especially with her email controversy, will somehow go away. Clinton is being Clinton, playing by her own rules knowing safely that the Democratic nomination is in her hands. Therein lies the point CBS News’ John Dickerson was making about Hillary’s image and why she needs to campaign tenaciously to shed the image that she’s a limousine liberal; people need to know that she cares about them. He used Iowa as an example, given that it’s a state with six electoral votes. If people there see her campaign aggressively, it could neutralize some of the negative aspects attributed to her speaking fees. After all, Hillary is a pretty weak campaigner to begin with – it could be good practice. Well, for now, it doesn’t seem she’s channeling that mindset.

For those who say that this email scandal is mostly a DC-centered story, that doesn’t seem to be the case. At Hot Air, Noah wrote how strong Hilary supporters in New Hampshire have grave concerns about the email controversy regarding transparency and how she handled it. And by strong Hillary supporters, we’re talking about people who don’t want anyone else to challenge her for the nomination, according to Bloomberg's Mark Halperin and John Heilemann who conducted this focus group with Purple Strategies. Additionally, two-thirds of Americans have heard about the email issues plaguing Clinton, but 66 percent said it didn’t change their opinion of the former first lady–and 49 percent said it would not impact their vote for her in 2016, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Then again, 55 percent of Americans, including 46 percent of Democrats, agree that an independent review into her emails should be conducted.

Oh, and she’s obviously being paid something for this appearance because her spokesman won’t say anything about the fee, or how much it’ll take out of the Camp Association’s budget. What’s with all the secrecy? Oh wait; it’s the Clintons.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s office, declined to comment on how much Clinton will be paid for Thursday’s speech to the summer camp group and whether Clinton took into consideration the size of the not-for-profit’s budget when she set her rate. In the past, Clinton’s fees for some of the events have been paid to her family foundation, which pairs nonprofits with corporate leaders that want to invest more in charitable work. Merrill declined to say whether the check from this speech went to the Clinton Foundation.