On the heels of Hillary Clinton’s big announcement earlier this week calling for a taxpayer funded $350 billion debt-free tuition plan comes the revelation of just how much the candidate has charged universities in speaking fees.
Fox News reports that, since leaving office as secretary of state in February 2013, Clinton has received over $2 million from universities to speak at their campuses.
The price tag for these appearances has been significant. She received $275,000 for her speech at the University of Buffalo in October of 2013. Critics point out that her fee could have covered the tuition of many students for an entire year.
Former three-term New York governor and 2016 presidential contender George Pataki tweeted:
The Republican National Committee also seized on the matter, saying Thursday, “Americans deserve a real leader, not someone like Hillary Clinton who will simply call for a tax hike to check a political box after pocketing millions in speaking fees from struggling universities for her own personal benefit.”
Clinton’s response has been that every dollar she earned in college speaking fees went to the Clinton Foundation for philanthropic work. However, that organization has come under scrutiny for the extravagant salaries and expenses racked up by its employees, some of whom are associated with Clinton’s campaign. Breitbart reports that in 2013, only 6 percent of the foundation’s expenses actually went toward helping people in need.
The University of Buffalo also defended Hillary’s fee in a July 2014 release: “The speaking fee and all other appearance costs are financed entirely through ticket sales, sponsorships and endowments established specifically to support the university’s Distinguished Speakers Series.”
The Clinton Foundation reported a salary range for some of Hillary’s other speaking appearances, including Hamilton University, which paid between $275,001 and $500,000, and Colgate University, which paid between $100,001 and $250,000, both in 2013
The following year, colleges that paid hefty fees to the former secretary of state included the University of California, Los Angeles – $300,000 – and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) – $275,000.
Elias Benjelloun, UNLV’s student body president at the time, told the Washington Post he thought Clinton, as a former public servant, ought to speak for free at the public university.
“The students are outraged about this,” he told the Post before the speech. “When you see reckless spending, it just belittles the sacrifices students are consistently asked to make. I’m not an accountant or economist, so I can’t put a price tag on how much we should be paying her, but I think she should come for free.”
As reported by Western Journalism, Former President George W. Bush gave his first university commencement address since leaving the White House at Southern Methodist University in May for free. SMU is the location of his presidential library and leadership center.
Bush quipped as he began his address: “So I got a call from my landlord, [SMU President] Gerald Turner. Rather than raising the rent or threatening to withhold our security deposit, I was relieved to hear President Turner ask if I believed in free speech. I said yeah. He said, ‘Perfect. Here’s your chance to give one.’”
Also reported by Western Journalism, millennials were shocked to learn just how wealthy Bill and Hillary Clinton are. The couple has owned or leased four mansions in the New York City area alone. Much of their wealth has come through speaking fees which, according to the New York Times, have totaled approximately $125 million since 2001.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth