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

Clinton earns $65 million in speaking fees as private citizen

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/29/art.billclinton.gi.jpg caption="'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.

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soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    I say get Hillary out there on the speaking circuit. Not that I would cross the street to hear her say anthing but hey, if someone's willing to pay, that's good money.

    June 29, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. ehwilson429

    and this cheap hillbilly still won't pay any of own his owns bills.
    he won'y pay off the $771K that Hillary owes from her ill-fated perzzie run.

    who are the fools paying him $65 MM and what are they getting for it?

    June 29, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. jules sand-perkins

    I hope that nobody objects to this former president's earning money. He's not on welfare.
    His fees are based on his ability to fill seats, as were Liberace's.

    June 29, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. TurnaboutnowweallPay

    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.
    Who says working for the little people doesn't pay, Jobs for sale cheap, 51.8 million, get them while they're not!

    June 29, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Get A Grip

    Well, I guess the Clinton's don't believe in..."sharing the wealth". Of course not, he's a Democrat. Democrats don't want to share their wealth (Kerry, Clinton, Pelosi, Obama, Moore, Reid, Gore....but they sure the hell want everyone else to share their wealth.

    Of course these folks preach they're all for the poor and it's that mean old other party that is the reason there are poor in this country. You people that believe and vote for these hypocrites are fools. They use you and you allow it.

    June 29, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Dave

    Let's see how concerned he is about the poor and destitute. I think republicans actually give much more in charity than the democrats. The DEMS only want to give someone else's money away!

    June 29, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Me

    I like Bill!

    June 29, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. jaw

    Get that $ bill. you tha man!

    June 29, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Big George in Big D

    @me – boy, do you sound like a typical democRAT! Hell no I wouldn't choose the lying Clintons. I'm not a republican but I'd much rather listern to Palin any day. Sneaky Bill has had his "question mark" pride in too many places, lying all the way!

    June 29, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Yes, but he is, after all, in a position to wield a lot of influence in international affairs, especially those that might impact global corporations.

    In other words, the speaking is the obvious, the influence is the hidden, agenda.

    June 29, 2010 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Dino

    Clinton lied, but no one died.

    June 29, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. obama victim

    well....I guess Sarah making the big bux isn't so bad after all...I say good for Bill.....I just wish Hillary was Presdent instead of this clown we have now...there is a reason they call him OBOZO

    June 29, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. b. o. stinks

    where is your distribution of wealth at now bill? you are not part of berrie bois cab or admin so you have to pay taxes

    June 29, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. Augsbee

    I don't get it, President Clinton makes less $$$ than VP Gore??? Gore was never popular or liked as Clinton was/is, I don't even remember seeing/hearing Gore when he was VP and he is worth I read more than $100 million which he made on saving the environment, I have yet to hear him speak on the damage of the oil spill, the damage to the environment or hear he donated $$$ to the Louisiana people and to the wildlife rescuing efforts.

    June 29, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. zarm

    Can Bubba pay for his own security, help the poor bubba

    June 29, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  16. Citizen

    I believe there is a limit to the amount of $$ that Hillary and/or her spouse are legally allowed to contribute towards paying down her campaign debt... the rest of it has to be contributed.

    June 29, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Artie

    Wuoldn't give .65 cents to listen to "old Bill"!

    June 29, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Big Al in Big H

    To Big George in Big D:

    So if you would prefer to hear Palin speak, cough up the dough. She's also expensive. If anyone thinks these celebs speak for free, you must have voted for Bush. And he would earn the big bucks also, if he could speak.

    June 29, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. carmela

    "assets valued at between $10.8 million and $51.8 million" that's a 41 million dollar spread... who is doing the math on this?

    June 29, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    At least Bill Clinton WAS a president who is extremely intelligent and when he speaks you want to listen to him because he does know what he speaks of (won't mention that other wannabe from the repug side who is a complete retarded moron-sorry couldn't help it).
    He and HIllary Clinton were not rich and they didn't have a house on the Cape or Maine.
    I wish him all the best and he is worth every cent he makes because he paid the price by being one of our best presidents (never mind the affair). Democrats don't hide behind the bible and those "family values".

    June 29, 2010 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    @Big George in Big D – now I know why you sound the way you do. Listening to the shrilla' from Wasilla all day will turn your brain to mush.

    June 29, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  22. Davidferdi

    I Love it that no one wants to hear W speak...

    June 29, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Amunaka

    Just kinda makes me wonder how much GW bush earns from speaking engagements ..if anything ..and way to go Bill...the repubs are absolutely seething and frothing over this ...they'll never change .. but to compare you to palin ...well that's just funny

    June 29, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Gary

    Good for him, he's a good speaker. Earning that kinda money he'll be a free market Republican soon....Is he a member of the Tea Party Not as crazy about his politics or his cheatin ways,but nobody is perfect.

    June 29, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Andrew

    Clinton may be a lying scummbag, but these people are well underpaid during their time as a president or any other public official. Obviously, they can't get paid to do this stuff while in office, but after the fact, they should make as much money as they want. I don't think we want our ex-presidents to return to "the masses." We depend on ex-presidents to advocate for social causes, and they need money and influence to do so. Carter, H.W Bush, Clinton, and W. Bush have all advocated for various charities. If they didn't have money, though Clinton would be the only one without money if he hadn't made it after (during?...) the presidency, he wouldn't be as effective an advocate.

    June 29, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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