Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said during an interview aired Thursday that she left Iowa days before the state’s caucuses to attend a fundraiser in Philadelphia with musician Jon Bon Jovi, who Clinton described as a good friend of hers.
The fundraiser was held at Franklin Square Capital Partners, a $17 billion investment firm, and Bon Jovi performed for those present who pledged $1,000 to Clinton’s campaign and hosts who gathered up to $27,000.
Clinton has faced scrutiny for attending the event, with critics saying she chose to raise money with the financial industry rather than campaign with Iowans just before they are set to pick their nominee.
Clinton’s main primary challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), lambasted her for being too close to large financial firms, arguing it is a further indication that she shares corporate and Wall Street interests.
Speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday, Clinton defended her decision to attend the fundraiser.
“Look, I was in Iowa yesterday, all week,” Clinton told Blitzer. “I’m back In Iowa right now. I’ll be in Iowa through the caucus. I went to Philadelphia for two things: Some of my supporters, including my good friend Jon Bon Jovi, had a fundraiser for me, and I had a long-standing meeting scheduled with fifty African American faith leaders from across our nation.”
Clinton described the latter meeting as “wonderful” and a wide-ranging conversation on several issues like criminal justice reform and how to ensure equal rights.
The former secretary of state has recently come under fire for taking large sums of money in speaking fees from financial firms, many of which have links to Wall Street.
A recent New York Times article detailed how Bill and Hillary Clinton accumulated $125,000,000 in speaking fees since the first couple left the White House, and the Democratic frontrunner took in an average of $250,000 per speech, including $675,000 from Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs for three speeches.
Sanders, a self-declared socialist, has launched attack ads against Clinton in an effort to show that she is too close to Wall Street while he has promised to break up the country’s largest banks and restore the Glass-Steagall barrier between investment and commercial banking.
Clinton has also said she will go after the financial industry with stricter regulations, but Sanders has called her assertions insincere and hypocritical.
Clinton was in White Plains, New York for another fundraiser Thursday morning and has since returned to Iowa.