Hillary Clinton denied that groups who pay her six-figure speaking fees expected political favor in return during an interview Sunday on Meet The Press.
Asked by host Chuck Todd whether people that have paid Clinton what one New York Times reporter calls an “obscene” amount of money for speeches should expect “anything in return,” Clinton replied, “Absolutely not.”
Democratic primary challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) has consistently attacked Clinton for being too financially beholden to Wall Street interests to “effectively rein in the industry's excesses,” according to the New York Times. Goldman Sachs, for instance, paid Clinton $675,000 for just three speeches.
“Why do you think one of these big banks paid you over $200,000 for a speech?” Todd asked.
“Look, I gave speeches to a wide array of groups from health care groups to auto dealers and many, many more, and I think what they were interested in, because what we talked about was the world coming off of four years as secretary of state in a complicated world, people were interested in what I saw, what I thought,” Clinton said. “You know, I think Americans who are doing business in every aspect of the economy want to know more about the world. I actually think it's a good conversation for people to be having.”
“You don't think they expect anything in return?” Todd asked.
“Absolutely not,” Clinton said. “You know, first of all, I was a senator from New York. I took them on when I was senator. I took on the carried interest loophole. I took on what was happening in the mortgage markets. I was talking about that in 2006. They know exactly where I stand, and I'll tell you, Chuck, it's really interesting to me that now Karl Rove has taken money from the financial interests who run an ad against me to try to influence Democrats not to support me.
“Why? Ask yourself why. Because he knows, number one, I know what must be done and number two, I know how to get it done, to make sure that Wall Street writ large, not just the banks, but the investment banks, the hedge funds and everybody else, no longer can wreck our economy the way they did in 2008.”
Republican candidate Donald Trump has consistently spoken of making donations to both Democrats and Republicans as a businessman to peddle influence.