Will Bill Clinton Take A Pay Cut If He Becomes First Spouse?
The Clintons may have 99 problems, but money ain't one. After Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, Bill Clinton started charging more for speaking engagements, according to an ABC News review of the couple's financial disclosure records. Since Bill left the White House in 2001, he's received $105 million in speech fees on top of the $200,000 a year as his former president pension. If Clinton's elected president and Bill becomes the first spouse, he'll be making a lot less money (not that he needs any more).
The position of United States First Lady, which would have to be renamed for Clinton (I'm thinking First Gentleman), is not paid. President Obama, when speaking about income inequality earlier this month, said: "Michelle would point out first ladies get paid nothing. So there's clearly not equal pay in the White House when it comes to her and me." For the Clintons, the pay gap would even out Clinton not being paid during Bill's presidency, but Bill would be taking a major pay cut.
If Clinton becomes president, the couple will be making $600,000 a year between the president's salary of $400,000 a year, not including expense accounts, and Bill's former president pension, which is clearly more than a livable salary, but Bill's been paid as much as $750,000 for one speech in the past few years. It's unclear whether or not a first spouse can legally accept money for speaking engagements, but it would definitely be frowned upon. Based on the Obama's tax returns, Michelle doesn't charge for delivering speeches. It's a part of the unpaid job.
Before Clinton became Secretary of State, Bill received an average of $150,000 for a speech, according to ABC News. "It’s unusual to see a former president’s speaking fee go up over time," Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer in the White House Counsel’s office under President George W. Bush, told ABC News. "I must say I’m surprised that he raised his fees. There’s no prohibition on his raising it. But it does create some appearance problems if he raises his fee after she becomes Secretary of State."
Those appearance problems would become even worse if Clinton becomes president.
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