Speaker Fees: Hillary v. Nobel Laureates
It would take a full-time minimum wage worker nearly 15 years to take home what Clinton pocketed for a single Wall Street speech.
Hillary Clinton is under fire for accepting eye-popping speaking fees from Wall Street. For each of three speeches she made for Goldman Sachs, she received $225,000. It would take a full-time minimum wage worker nearly 15 years to make that much money.
Another way to put Clinton’s speaking fees into perspective is to take a look at how much some of the world’s most respected global visionaries and human rights champions garner for their speeches. Using sources like Washington Speakers Bureau and Speakerpedia, we found information on the fees commanded by eminent Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.
Like these Nobelists, Clinton has not pocketed all her speaker fee wealth. Tax filings she released at the start of her presidential campaign indicate that she and her husband donated $15 million to charity from 2007 to 2014.
However, the disparity between the speaking fees of the Clintons and Nobel Laureates is striking. Is it because she’s just that much wiser or more inspirational than other leaders who have taken enormous personal risks to fight for a better world?
It’s hard not to wonder whether the fees instead are aimed at buying political access and power.
And since Clinton has declined to release the text of the speeches, it’s impossible to know just how much valuable wisdom they contain.
Aaron Mendelson is an Institute for Policy Studies research intern and graduate in economics and policy studies from Grinnell College.