A New York Times reporter said Thursday it is “almost obscene” how much money Bill and Hillary Clinton have made from speaking fees in recent years, much of which came from financial firms linked to Wall Street.
The reporter, Nicholas Confessore, criticized how much money the Clintons have accumulated while appearing on MSNBC with host Craig Melvin to discuss his new article, which details how the former first couple has taken in more than $125,000,000 in speaking fees since leaving the White House, almost a quarter of that coming in the last two years.
Hillary Clinton made about $250,000 per speech over the past few years, according to the story.
“The scale of the money, Craig, a quarter of a million dollars to chit-chat for forty minutes, is just unbelievable to most people,” Confessore said. “It seems almost obscene.
The Democratic presidential frontrunner received $675,000 from Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs for giving three speeches.
Confessore said in his story he quoted former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, as saying, “To people who earn $200,000 in seven years, it looks ridiculous,” adding that “people just don't understand how she gets all that money.”
“Even people who earn a decent wage in this country, they can't get their heads around why anyone would get a quarter of a million dollars to give a speech, we should note, that a lot of this money was for giving speeches to people who make a lot of money,” Melvin said in response.
Clinton's ties to Wall Street have come under fire in recent days as her chief opponent in the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt), has attacked her for representing corporate interests and being part of the Democratic Party establishment.
“You got to be really, really, really good to get $250,000 for a speech,” Sanders told a crowd sarcastically Wednesday in Iowa, mocking Clinton's speaking fees.
Sanders, a self-declared socialist, has promised to break up the country's biggest banks and restore the Glass-Steagall barrier between investment and commercial banking. He has called the American economy a rigged system that favors the wealthiest individuals at the expense of the poor, promising to minimize Wall Street's influence as president.
Clinton has also been campaigning largely on income inequality, promising to raise wages for working and middle-class Americans while increasing regulation on large financial institutions. Sanders has said Clinton is being hypocritical because she has taken so much money from big business and is aligned with their interests.
“You would think that someone would have said to Hillary Clinton, someone who has thought about running for president a long time, someone may have said, ‘You know what, maybe it's not the best idea to go out and take millions of dollars from the financial industry if you're considering a run,’” Melvin told Confessore.
“I think some of her own supporters are wishing they had said that to her before,” Confessore said in response.
Sanders has enjoyed a recent surge in the polls, narrowing Clinton's lead nationally. He is also virtually tied with Clinton in Iowa, the first state to hold a caucus on Feb. 1, and is leading by 27 points in New Hampshire, the second state to vote, according to one recent poll.