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Bill Clinton Paid Speaking Fee From Trade Group That Benefited From Foundation

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton / AP
• September 21, 2016 11:20 am

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Bill Clinton was paid $260,000 in January 2014 to deliver a speech that lasted less than an hour to a trade group for the perfume industry that later benefited from a Clinton Foundation project in Haiti.

Months after Clinton’s speech before the Fragrance Foundation, the Clinton Foundation launched a project to encourage Haitian farmers to plant thousands of lime trees in an effort to assist impoverished farmers and revive the wavering perfume and beverage industries, which had been hard hit by a limeoil shortage, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday evening.

A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation said there was no connection between Bill Clinton’s speech and the charity’s work in Haiti, noting that the effort was intended to reverse deforestation and boost the country’s economy.

The $260,000 speaking fee was not a donation to the former president’s foundation, but was instead reported as personal income, according to Hillary Clinton’s financial disclosure form.

The timing of the payment from the Fragrance Foundation raises additional concerns about the Clintons’ overlapping personal and charitable interests that have dogged Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

The Donald Trump campaign condemned the Clinton Foundation following the Wall Street Journal report in a statement Tuesday, calling the family charity "an arm of the Clintons’ political and buck-raking apparatus."

"If there is one thing the Clintons are known for, it is that there is no line they won’t cross and no corner they won’t cut in order to earn a quick buck," said Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser.

Bill Clinton announced last month that he would step down from the Clinton Foundation’s board in November, regardless of whether his wife wins the presidency, amid pay-to-play accusations deriving from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state.

The annual Clinton Global Initiative, where the lime-tree project was highlighted in 2015, is meeting for the final time in New York this week.