by Bob Beauprez
You have to give Hillary Clinton one thing, she can manufacture scandals and election campaign quagmires about as frequently as an old hen can lay an egg. Whether it’s Benghazi lies, the email scandal, foreign policy disasters (see Russian Re-Set), pay-for-play allegations sloshing between the Secretary of State’s office and the Clinton Foundation, or the newest turn of the screw, her secretive speeches between 2013-2015 in which she raked in over $21 million dollars. The hits just keep on coming.
Her “standard” speaking fee was $225,000, but that was before the cost of the private jet, ground transportation, additional staff, lodging. meals, even a $1000 for a transcription service to memorialize every word that was said – but, the transcript was the sole property of Hillary. So far, she has guarded the secrecy of those 92 speeches with far greater care that America’s most sensitive intelligence when she was SoS.
Eight of the speeches were to big Wall Street Banks netting her $1.8 million. As her rival Bernie Sanders says, “That must be one hell of a speech!” Perhaps even “Shakespearean” the Vermont Senator says with his tongue firmly in his cheek.
Speeches that Wall Street’s big shots think are worth that kind of money surely should have value with the general public, particularly during a presidential campaign. One might think rather than being secretive, Clinton would want to release them to prove up her bona fides about her knowledge of the financial industry.
Unless, perhaps what she said in those secretive meetings was in conflict with what she is now saying on the presidential stump. As the following article by Guy Benson explains, press was even excluded from these secretive speeches at Clinton’s insistence.
On the stump, Clinton routinely vows to “get tough on Wall Street” and go after “shadow banking” and is fond of repeating her favorite mantra that “no bank is too big to fail, and no individual is too big to jail.”
Sanders, and a lot of others, though, suspicion with good reason that a President Hillary might not be quite so tough on those big shots that made her rich. More likely it will be just the opposite. Indeed, Hillary might have learned a crony capitalist lesson from her fellow New Yorker, Donald Trump.
Pointing out that buying influence from powerful politicians was just another “cost of doing business” in a world where politicians can be bought and sold , Trump volunteered in Clear Lake, Iowa that “I contribute to everybody. I’ve given to Democrats. I’ve given to Hillary. I’ve given to everybody, because that was my job. I’ve got to give to them, because when I want something I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass. It’s true. They kiss my ass. It’s true.” [Washington Examiner, Byron York, 1/10/16
The Associated Press’s review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence “showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton’s speeches have actively sought to sway the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.” The issues of importance to thes organizations are “sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.” [AP, April 22, 2016]
Anybody who believes that Hillary will turn down the screws on the people that paid $21.8 million for the pleasure of her company probably also believe that she never lied to the families of the Benghazi victims, nor compromised national security with her private email system.