The Multi-Billion Dollar Institution That Is ‘The Clintons, Inc.’

by Jim Geraghty

If you have trouble receiving the Morning Jolt newsletter this morning, it’s because Team USA goalie Tim Howard blocked it the first 16 times.

The Multi-Billion Dollar Institution That Is ‘The Clintons, Inc.’

Yeah, tell us again how “dead broke” you were, Hillary:

Bill and Hillary Clinton helped raise more than $1 billion from U.S. companies and industry donors during two decades on the national stage through campaigns, paid speeches and a network of organizations advancing their political and policy goals, The Wall Street Journal found.

Those deep ties potentially give Mrs. Clinton a financial advantage in the 2016 presidential election, if she runs, and could bring industry donors back to the Democratic Party for the first time since Mr. Clinton left the White House . . . 

The Journal tallied speaking fees and donations to Mr. Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns; the Democratic National Committee during Mr. Clinton’s eight years in the White House; Mrs. Clinton’s bids for Senate and president; and the family’s nonprofit entity — The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

The Journal was aided by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks election contributions. The center provided an industry breakdown of campaign donations.

Finding an exact total is difficult because the Clintons aren’t required to make public any details about donations to their foundation. They voluntarily report donor names, however, and donation amounts within broad ranges.

In total, the Clintons raised between $2 billion and $3 billion from all sources, including individual donors, corporate contributors and foreign governments, the Journal found. Between $1.3 billion and $2 billion came from industry sources.

“Clinton Inc.” is a fitting term for the family, and perhaps that’s a good way to describe the endeavor to make her the next president.

It’s a free country, but everyone else is also free to ask what these institutions think they’re getting for those donations . . . and why, say, a public university would be paying Hillary Clinton hefty six-figure speaking fees:

Some students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas are upset over Clinton’s speaking fee for a school-related fundraising event while members of the state’s board of regents are defending the decision.

“We’re dishing out nearly a quarter million dollars to invite a speaker to our campus and that money could be spent in so many other, better ways for our university,” said Elias Benjelloun, student body president.

Clinton is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for the non-profit UNLV Foundation at the Bellagio Hotel in October. The reported speaking fee: $225,000. The university said the fee will be paid for with money raised privately through the school’s foundation. While it’s not student money, some UNLV students are not happy given a recent approval to hike tuition.

“As tuition has consistently gone up, we can’t recklessly spend money — whether it’s private or public — there’s just no excuse,” Benjelloun said.

The students have put their complaints in writing and plan to overnight a letter to the Clinton Foundation.

What does UNLV, or Goldman Sachs, or a grocer’s convention get for their $200,000 to $225,000 to $400,000 they pay Hillary Clinton for a speech? For that price, one would think she is a whirling dervish of raw political charisma that delivers an audience the financially equivalent thrills of a live joint performance of Cirque de Soleil, the Harlem Globetrotters, David Copperfield, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Whatever the official explanation, the rest of us who don’t get offered six figures to come talk to people will have our own suspicion — that this is a legal way of buying goodwill with a potential future president, from a likely candidate all too eager to sell that goodwill.