Obama to Speak at Wall Street Conference for $400,000

Barack Obama
April 25, 2017

Former President Barack Obama, who decried income inequality and slammed "fat cat" bankers during his presidency, recently agreed to speak at a Wall Street firm's conference for $400,000.

Obama's speaking fee constituted roughly twice the amount former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, charged, Fox Business reported Monday. The pay out would also come to the same amount of money that presidents have received as annual salary.

Insiders at the firm Cantor Fitzgerald LP confirmed to Fox Business that Obama signed a contract to be the keynote speaker at its health care conference.

During his administration, Obama blamed Wall Street bankers for the 2008 financial crisis, publicly called for their accountability, and in 2009 referred to them as "fat cats."

"I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street," Obama famously told CBS's "60 Minutes."

Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf saw hypocrisy in Obama's speaking fee.

"He went on the attack against Wall Street and now he's being fed by those same people he called 'fat cats.' It's more hypocritical than ironic," Sheinkopf told Fox.

Obama's actions towards Wall Street were less aggressive than his rhetoric. While he enacted financial reform through the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, he did not indict any banks for fraudulent activity involved with the financial crisis.

Sheinkopf suggested that class warriors within the Democratic Party like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) would withhold criticism of Obama's speaking fee because he was one of their last remaining leaders.

"They have no heroes anymore, and [Obama] was their last great hero, so how can they turn on him even though he is being a bit of a hypocrite?" Sheinkopf asked.

Although Obama has reportedly signed the contract to speak at Cantor's health care conference, the firm has yet to make a formal announcement.