June 29th, 2010
02:38 PM ET
7 years ago

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.

'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.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Popular Posts
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Mike

    I guess it pays to be a former President. Even if you were a disgrace to the office.
    Same goes for both sides too. This isn't biased in no way.

    June 29, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. rachel

    Clinton is the only one subjected to a lot of things.

    June 29, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Senator

    That's why I call him 'Dollar BILL'

    June 29, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Grrr-Awful-O

    And that's why people still want to be president of the United States.

    June 29, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Shirley in California

    "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.

    This is by far the most classless comment coming from a former president to date. Interpretation: "who cares about the job or the responsibility to your country – just make the money." This is why I will NEVER vote for a Clinton again. There is nothing wrong with making money. He did a good job and should reap the rewards but for God's sake have some decency not to make comments like that.

    Please enjoy your money Bill after all, you just told us where your heart was at.

    June 29, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Mad as Hell

    So why does everyone scream about how much Pailn makes on her speaking fees? Its ok for a man but not a woman or is it because one is a Dem and the other a Repub?

    June 29, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. mj

    Wasn't it Hillary who said that American's make too much money? How ironic.

    June 29, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. beth

    gosh, you mean someone made more than sarah palin? goes to show you, gop, there are more intelligent people in this country than you think.

    June 29, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. HIstorylover77

    President Truman had it right.

    No President or former President should ever
    profit from being president: before, during or after they leave office,
    whether it be Reagan accepting millions in speaking fees from Japan
    or Clinton accepting millions from numerous foreign governments
    and multinational companies.

    Whether it is true or not, it gives the appearance of a kickback
    or a payback for favors granted, legislation pushed when they were in office or other preferential treatment.

    It is very unseemly and tacky and should be made illegal.

    June 29, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. conniesz

    You Go Bill!!! It's nice to see you doing well. Now, please get out there and help the Democrats win some critical races in November – you were a great President, one of the best in my lifetime (starting with Truman). I can see you are already a great elder statesman – keep up the good work.

    June 29, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. gt

    and he asking everyone for $ 5.00 to help a looser like Meek... unbelievabel....

    June 29, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. Bob of Lompoc

    Good for President Willie. He deserves it – every dollar. And of course, where are the people who tried to do him in – Newt Gingrich, Livingston of state of LA, Henry Hyde and all the rest – who knows and who cares. Willie is a mover and shaker in the Universe. They are nothings. K A R M A !

    June 29, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. jeff jackson, alabama

    Then be cool Bill and pay off your
    wife's debts.

    June 29, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Naqib

    No surprise...

    A good comic or clown can do pretty well with the right crowd

    June 29, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. mike

    people want to listen to BILL Clinton who is smart and knows how to speak in a way that they don't make a fool of themselves bush and cheney on the other hand couldn't get money to speak at an opening of Mickey Mouse club House it just goes to show that being stupid is the trade mark of the republican party

    June 29, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. Probama in Paradise

    Wow–I bet Chelsea has a NICE wedding, LOL!

    June 29, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Watch out, Bubba. You're one of those that Obama thinks make too much money, and now he's a commin' to get ya!!!

    June 29, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Malt

    Clinton and Gore have truly scored financially for their time in office (almost $200,000,000 each). They spout off on how we need to raise taxes to help the poor. They should put their money where their mouths are and donate themselves. Records so that the Clintons, Gores and Obamas are pretty stingy with their millions....

    Government wasn't set up to force citizens to pay for government sponsored charity (see Obama's policies).

    June 29, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Steve

    How about he donates 90% of the 2009 take to Haiti relief? Let him put his money where is mouth is.

    Plus it's a great cause. They desperately need the help.

    June 29, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. me

    He earns every penny with his advice and direction.

    Now let's talk Palin. She brings in $$ with her craziness and lies. She even has her daughter out there making $$. Senator McCain you picked a winner in the family of advice but no common sense.

    WHO WOULD YOU RATHER LISTEN TOO? If you have any kind of intelligence it would be Clinton.

    June 29, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    No doubt about, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are powerhouses.

    June 29, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Larry

    You Go Bill ....

    You've paid your dues ....

    The Republican machine tried to mow you down ...

    Only to bend their blade ...

    You Go Bill ...

    June 29, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Dave

    Why would someone pay to hear a guy talk who:
    a. Never shuts up
    b. Has proven over and over and over again that he lies... constantly.

    He and his wife have proven that it is all about one thing: THEM and power.

    The masses are so gullible.

    June 29, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. Chipster

    Someone wrote yesterday how angry they still were that Clinton lied to Ken Starr about a tawdry affair during an investigation into a real estate deal.

    They never said how angry they were that Bush and Cheney lied about WMD, links to Al Qaeda, etc. to gain support for their war of obsession and greed. How many people died when Clinton lied? Zero? How many have died when Bush and Cheney lied? The toll is still mounting!

    DNA on a blue dress vs American blood on Iraqi soil? Not much of a contest as to whose the most despicable.

    June 29, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Kayo

    Man, what a life.

    June 29, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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