Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How much does a Bill Clinton speech cost?

In the old days, you could get Bill Clinton speeches for free, just by watching television. I bet Monica got a few too. This report from the Daily Beast says he gets paid fabulous sums for giving speeches:

While his accounts are being scrutinized by Obama's search committee, a Kuwaiti report indicates Bill Clinton reaped $500,000 for a single speech there Sunday.

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has paid $500,000 to Bill Clinton for a single lecture he delivered in Kuwait City on Sunday on his assessment of Barack Obama's foreign and economic policies. It was delivered the day after the Kuwaiti stock market resumed trading after it was suspended by order of a Kuwaiti court on Thursday to avoid a total collapse.

Without mentioning reports that Clinton's finances were coming under close scrutiny as his wife, Hillary Clinton, is being vetted for the job of secretary of state, the Arab-language Kuwaiti newspaper Awan published a front-page story under the headline "Clinton's lecture at NBK cost $500,000."

Delivered before "a packed audience" and attended by local dignitaries, ambassadors, and senior officials, Clinton offered advice to the president-elect on the world financial crisis, urging him to continue to pump liquidity into the American system until confidence came back, according to a press release by the National Bank of Kuwait, which organized the event at the Sheraton Hotel.

$500,000 would be a high fee, even for Bill Clinton. In 2006 he averaged almost a speech a day, at an average of about $140,000 a speech.

He has earned far more per speech, particularly from Middle Eastern or foreign organizations wishing to hear his views on a range of topics. The Dabbagh investment firm in Saudi Arabia paid $600,000 for two speeches, and China's JingJi Real Estate Development Group paid $200,000 for a single speech. The Mito City Political Research Group in Japan paid him $400,000 in 2002 for a single speech....

ARGH! But We can be sure he is not alone. Is he being paid for speeches, or for influence he can provide? After all, I can provide the same advice for free, and so can you.


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