Hillary Clinton Says Speaking Fees Go to Clinton Foundation, Shrugs Off UNLV Rage
American's former secretary of state and first lady has had a tough couple of weeks, and no one has let her forget it. After being widely criticized for her hefty $225 thousand speaking fee — particularly by students of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where Clinton is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser in October — on Friday, Hillary Clinton said that the money she earns goes to the Clinton Foundation. In short: lay off her, dudes.
Last week, students at UNLV asked Clinton to give her fee of $225,000 back to the university — if she chooses not to, they threatened, they'll protest her visit. Talking to ABC News Friday, the former First Lady responded to the students' outrage by sweeping it aside.“It’s been my experience,” Clinton said, “That they’re not worried about my speaking or my household, they’re worried about their own. And that’s the kind of debate I think I’m furthering as I go around the country speaking.”
She also added that in the past, all of her fees have been given to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. "All of the fees have been donated to the Clinton Foundation for it to continue its life-changing and life-saving work," she said. "So it goes from a foundation at a university to another foundation."
UNLV has yet to respond to what looks a clear "no" from Clinton on returning the money. The former secretary of state is supposed to be the keynote speaker at the UNLV's Foundation Annual Dinner in October, an event being held at the swanky Bellagio Resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
There's a chance that UNLV students will run out of steam before that time comes. On top of the fact that the UNLV's paycheck will be going into the Clinton Foundation — which works on all sorts projects, from climate change to women’s rights — that kind of price tag isn't actually so rare. Speeches are expensive: according to the NY Daily News, Clinton's gotten up to $300,000 in the past from UCLA, and often gets roughly $200,000 from other colleges. Other public figures have similar price tags; George W. Bush gets between $100,000 and $150,000 per speaking engagement, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Incredibly, even New York Times bestselling authors can demand at least $40,000 per speech.
Considering that Clinton is former secretary of state, first lady and a potential 2016 presidential candidate, her price tag seems in keeping with the norm — that being said, it's probably time that norm is changed.