CNN Political Ticker

Clinton earns $65 million in speaking fees as private citizen

'I never had any money until I got out of the White House, you know, but I've done reasonably well since then,' Clinton said during the Fortune Time CNN Global Forum in Cape Town, South Africa.

Washington (CNN) - Former president Bill Clinton stepped up the pace of his paid speaking engagements in 2009, bringing his total haul from these speeches to $65 million since leaving office in 2001.

According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's annual financial disclosure report released Monday, the former president earned $7.5 million from 36 paid speeches last year, up from the $5.7 million he earned for 25 speeches in 2008. Almost half of his speech earnings last year, $3.2 million, came from 13 speeches delivered in nine other countries, ranging in distance from Canada and Mexico to Turkey, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates. The remainder was earned in 23 speeches delivered in seven states and the District of Columbia.


Almost two-thirds of President Clinton's earnings from 365 paid speaking engagements since leaving the White House have come from overseas. Since 2001, he has earned $40.1 million from 197 speeches in 45 foreign countries. His most popular destination was Canada, where he has participated in 50 paid events for a total of $8.4 million. This includes a June 2008 speech for the motivational speaking conference "The Power Within" in which he earned $525,000, the most he has ever earned for a single event. Clinton has given a total of 21 speeches at various "Power Within" events since 2001 for a total of $4.6 million.

The former president's second most popular overseas speaking destination over the past nine years was the United Kingdom, where he earned $3.2 million for 16 events. Also ranking high were Germany ($2.5 million for 11 events), Australia ($2.3 million for 13 events), and Mexico ($2.0 million for 10 events).

The $7.5 million Clinton earned in speeches in 2009 tops by almost $2 million the amount he earned the previous year, when he devoted six months on the stump campaigning on behalf of his wife's unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. That year, Hillary Clinton loaned her presidential campaign a total of $13.2 million out of her and her husband's personal funds. The Clintons ended up eating the cost of that loan because the campaign was unable to repay the amount by the deadline required by federal campaign finance laws. However, since Hillary Clinton suspended her presidential campaign on June 7, 2008, her husband has earned $12.3 million in speaking fees for 56 events, going a long way towards canceling out the impact of the loan.

President Clinton's most lucrative years on the speaking circuit were 2006, when he earned $10.2 million for 57 speeches, and 2007, when he earned $10.1 million for 54 speeches. In 2004, Clinton spent much of the year writing his memoirs and recovering from heart bypass surgery and earned only $875,000 in speaking fees.

Clinton was an elected official on a fixed government salary for all but two years from 1977, when he took office as the Arkansas attorney general, until leaving the White House in January 2001, a fact he noted Sunday at the Fortune Time CNN Global Forum in Cape Town, South Africa.

"I never had any money until I got out of the White House, you know, but I've done reasonably well since then," said Clinton.

Though it is not unusual for former presidents to command millions of dollars in speaking fees after leaving office, Clinton is the only one subjected to strict disclosure requirements as a result of his wife's employment as a high-ranking federal official, first as a United States Senator and now as Secretary of State.

When President Obama first nominated then-Sen. Clinton, his former rival, to be the nation's top diplomat in December 2008, the former president agreed to a number of steps to guard against possible conflicts of interest that may arise from his various post-presidential activities. In particular, he has agreed to allow State Department and White House ethics officials to review his slate of proposed speaking engagements.

Secretary Clinton's financial report also indicates the couple owns assets valued at between $10.8 million and $51.8 million, not including the value of their primary residence, which federal regulations do not require them to disclose.