NYT: Chelsea Clinton gets $75K per speech

posted at 7:21 pm on July 9, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

One thing has become clear from Hillary Clinton’s book tour: all the struggles by the Clintons to provide multiple homes and working-class world-class education for their daughter have certainly paid off. The New York Times reports that the occasional reporter for NBC now commands a speaking fee of $75,000 an appearance, but hastens to add that the money gets donated to her parents’ foundation (via Joe Schoffstall):

There is a new Clinton paid to deliver speeches — Chelsea, the former first daughter — and she is commanding as much as $75,000 per appearance.

Aides stressed that while Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton often address trade groups and Wall Street bankers, Ms. Clinton, now 34, focuses on organizations whose goals are in line with the work of the family’s philanthropic organization, the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Organizers said her star power helped sell tickets and raise money.

And unlike her parents’ talks, Ms. Clinton’s speeches “are on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, and 100 percent of the fees are remitted directly to the foundation,” said her spokesman, Kamyl Bazbaz, adding that “the majority of Chelsea’s speeches are unpaid.” The Harry Walker Agency, the firm that represents her parents’ engagements, handles Ms. Clinton’s talks on behalf of the family foundation.

The family speechmaking business is a lucrative one and has generated more than $100 million for her parents over the past decade as they hopscotched the globe. Their fees range from $200,000 to $700,000 per appearance, and Mr. Clinton alone earned $17 million last year giving speeches.

It’s fair to note that the speaking circuit is a free-market system. Anyone who can get $75K for an hour of speaking and Q&A should only decline if someone else is offering more. That applies to Hillary and Bill Clinton as well. While collecting massive amounts of money for speaking fees isn’t the equivalent of working in the coal mines (or “struggling” in any sense), it’s still a legitimate income stream. Lots of politicos make money in that industry.

However, that’s where the eyebrows start going up. The NYT does a little comparison shopping, and finds a curious market tilt:

The cost to book Ms. Clinton surpasses that of speakers with longer résumés, like Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and a potential Republican rival to Mrs. Clinton in 2016. He makes an estimated $50,000 per speech. Colin L. Powell and Madeleine K. Albright, both former secretaries of state, are also in the $50,000 range, said one person who has booked speakers but who could not discuss private contracts for attribution.

Whether or not one likes their politics, these three all have something in common: actual accomplishment and experience. Powell and Albright preceded Hillary as Secretaries of State, and Bush ran Florida as Governor for two terms. What exactly has Chelsea done to be fascinating enough to earn 50% more than either as a public speaker? Even her scant contributions at NBC News shows very little reason to believe that she’s a particularly charismatic raconteur. Those efforts got her a $600,000-a-year contract that lasted until recently, when NBC converted her contract to month-to-month.

There are a couple of explanations for this. One, it may just be that celebrity sells, but that would tend to explain the fees for Bill and Hillary more than Chelsea, who spent most of her adult life shunning the media. The combination of ridiculously high speaking fees and the inexplicable NBC News contract seems much more like an avenue for the elite to pay homage to Bill and Hillary, and for the wanna-bes and the already-powerful suck up to the elite in and around political power. There’s nothing illegal or even unethical in a formal sense about this, and Chelsea’s not the first presidential progeny to benefit from the impulse, but the gaudy levels of recompense for the amount of effort and experience just make it a lot more obvious than it otherwise would be.


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I’m sorry. But who in their right mind would pay her $5, let alone $75,000 to speak. I can’t imagine she knows or has experienced anything worth paying her to speak. This is just whack!

marichan on July 9, 2014 at 11:20 PM

People who owe Billary favors…or want them.

Oh, they’ll pay all right, and they’ll sit there patiently, laugh at the right moments, and they’ll applaud her when she’s done.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 9, 2014 at 11:27 PM

why do you guys hate capitalism so much?

everdiso on July 9, 2014 at 11:37 PM

She donates her salary to the foundation and in turn the foundation pays all her expenses and gives her a generous salary I assume. So how is this different from being paid directly for speaking?

Of course, I assume there may be a tax advantage to all this.

Now I may be too cynical, but if this was all a way of donating money to a real charity why pick one with your name in its title?

Fred 2 on July 9, 2014 at 11:38 PM

This is a joke. Chelsea gets $75,000 for a one hour speech? Who would pay $1 to hear an unaccomplished, poor speaker ramble on for one hour? What does she have to say worth hearing?

Techster64 on July 10, 2014 at 12:21 AM

Darn.

That’s like a grand per cogent sentence for her!

And I’m being nice.

archer52 on July 10, 2014 at 1:22 AM

This is a joke. Chelsea gets $75,000 for a one hour speech? Who would pay $1 to hear an unaccomplished, poor speaker ramble on for one hour? What does she have to say worth hearing?

Techster64 on July 10, 2014 at 12:21 AM

I’m not overweight like Meghan McCain (I almost said zaftig, but i doubt she’d know its meaning).

I’m not Howdy Doody like that big meanie SWeasel pictured me. That hurt, and I’m not saying anything else!

Check, please!

ya2daup on July 10, 2014 at 1:55 AM

why do you guys hate capitalism so much?

everdiso on July 9, 2014 at 11:37 PM

What does this have to do with capitalism? You think this is the free market at work? You’re delusional.

Ronnie on July 10, 2014 at 5:46 AM

In all fairness, one should point out that, when Chelsea Clinton gets a speaker’s fee, she has to send a significant portion of it to the Howdy Doody estate.

justltl on July 10, 2014 at 6:51 AM

So what topic does Clinton present to her audience? The benefits of nepotism? Setting up one’s own tax-dodge charity? How to make money without possessing any actual skills?

zoyclem on July 10, 2014 at 7:29 AM

Chelsea Clinton and Sandra Fluke: Supermodels of the Left.

ConstantineXI on July 10, 2014 at 7:57 AM

So what topic does Clinton present to her audience? The benefits of nepotism? Setting up one’s own tax-dodge charity? How to make money without possessing any actual skills?

zoyclem on July 10, 2014 at 7:29 AM

How to get a man to knock you up without having to be held at gunpoint while having one of the ugliest faces on the planet?

ConstantineXI on July 10, 2014 at 7:58 AM

Ashley Dupré is whizzed off, she had to give 20+ speeches to client number nine for the same money Chelsea gets.

meci on July 10, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Chelsea Clinton gets $75K per speech

For what? Her many stirring accomplishments, such as being born into privilege? Crikey, if her her parents weren’t Bill and Hillary, she’d be another nobody. But hey, her dad was president and her mom might well become president. I guess not paying homage to the Clintons via their daughter might be viewed in a negative light, huh? So you might even call it protection money.

::pause::

Funny, there’s already a group of people who ask for-and receive- protection money on a regular basis. I think The Sopranos was based on that.

Physics Geek on July 10, 2014 at 8:23 AM

I once was only paid $200 to give a speech (on fishing,) but back then, no one asked who was my mother and father–so I took the discrimination in stride.

Don L on July 10, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Behind the scenes there is undoubtedly some quid pro quo. I know no details but my best guess is that whoever in paying Chelsea is getting something more in return from mommy and daddy. It’s nice to have connected parents.

MaiDee on July 10, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Celebrity and sycophancy.

You forgot corruption, Ed. In fact, that is all it is, Ed.

The ignorant little bitch doesn’t care about money but wants $75k for giving a speech. It’s a whole family of congenital liars.

Dusty on July 10, 2014 at 9:01 AM

$75,00 gives you the behind-the-scenes tales of life with Socks…

Pest on July 10, 2014 at 9:21 AM

It’s Chelsea Mezvinsky.

Akzed on July 10, 2014 at 9:27 AM

The NYT sees what it wants to see. My understanding is that Chelsea Clinton WORKS for her parents at the Clinton Global Initiative. This would be fine with me, except they are hiding her large salary and pretending it doesn’t exist saying that she gets $75K to come give you a speech, which goes to the foundation. I don’t think she is coming to speak about kittens and puppies, she is coming to represent the foundation and give it’s message. That is not the same as hiring Madeleine Albreit, or Condi Rice, who are people and speak from their LIFE perspective. She is a paid schill for the Clinton Global Initiative.

It’s apples and oranges. I don’t think Chelsea is actually being paid, and I don’t think it will go on her filed separately or joint tax return with Mark Meservinsky, what will appear there is the SALARY she makes for working for the Foundation as a family employee, as long as she is doing a job that the foundation would pay a salary to someone else to do, if she were not there. Like if you are an accountant, you can sell your services at market rates to your family foundation and get paid and it’s not considered corrupt. The rules on Travel are really complicated, but the Clintons are up to complicated, right? Does anyone know what Chelsea is paid? Surely it is the maximum of whatever is allowable for a foundation this size. Get Lois Lerner on the case.

Fleuries on July 10, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Have KOOLAID2 give a speech for $75K instead.

22044 on July 10, 2014 at 9:35 AM

said her spokesman, Kamyl Bazbaz

Too funny. Is that Arabic for Camel “Buzz-buzz”?

MisterElephant on July 10, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Reading the comments here, I just want to say that a lot of people do get paid (a lot less than $75K) for speeches to groups, that is part of their Self Employed Livelihood. Every penny has to be accounted for by your accountant, including your receipt for that bottle of water and other business expenses used by you in order to further your business, and sometimes those paying for a speech have rules they have to adhere to, too, for instance they might pay for your travel if they can see a real plane ticket, or can only pay for your travel if you give them a free presentation or if they give you an award in your field.

And the government has it’s tentacles in what you can do,and how you do it, to make your living, and IRS agents see almost everything as a personal expense unless you can prove it is for business. It is not for the feint of heart. Try to learn, everyone giving a speech is not a celebrity and they don’t need to be punished by the government if someone want to pay to hear them. The reason it costs a lot, is not because it is a scam, it is because if you pay someone $1000 to give a speech, $250 is for the Amtrak ticket and 15% is for the Self Employment tax, 28% for the federal taxes and “x for the state and local taxes” (all paid quarterly on a fictional outcome you don’t have yet) and then you have to pay your agent and your accountant for their time, and then there is a few hours pay left for you and a before taxes sandwich and a cup of coffee. You are jealous now, right?

Everyone gets paid before you do, it is what Bill Cosby said to Theo: “They come for the Normal People First.”

Fleuries on July 10, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Chelsea Clinton and Sandra Fluke: Supermodels of the Left.

ConstantineXI on July 10, 2014 at 7:57 AM

guffaw

“You’ve come a long way, baby!” All the way from giving free lap dances in the Oxford student pubs to receiving $75k for having an adulterous father (whose tastes run to ug) and doormat mother.

MisterElephant on July 10, 2014 at 9:50 AM

People and institutions that pay her $75K for an inane speech shouldn’t have $75k sitting around.

stop2think on July 10, 2014 at 10:04 AM

How much would it be worth to hear Abraham Lincoln speak?
The most eloquent speech I have ever heard was Macarthurs farewell at West Point. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t paid for it.
It seems that the Inverse Square law applies to public speaking; the more you are paid the less value it has.

thelastminstrel on July 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM

They could have hired me for 1/10 that.
I have some pretty Ripping yarns to tell.
All true.
Give or take a lie or two.

thelastminstrel on July 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM

[stop2think on July 10, 2014 at 10:04 AM]

It’s a futures contract. They buy a put at $75k and get a call at some future date out of the public treasury at a multiple depending on some complex rules only the Clintons can explain.

It a Ponzi scheme the taxpayers never get invited to join but pay for pretty much totally.

Dusty on July 10, 2014 at 10:23 AM

“Ive done Nothing in life, born rich, married rich, pay me to talk about suff” Sorry Chels, you arent important.

ninjacoastie on July 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM

said her spokesman, Kamyl Bazbaz

Too funny. Is that Arabic for Camel “Buzz-buzz”?

MisterElephant on July 10, 2014 at 9:41 AM

I’m pretty sure that “Bazbaz” translates roughly to “Humper”.

justltl on July 10, 2014 at 10:29 AM

It’s just a bribe to the Clinton’s

Wallythedog on July 10, 2014 at 10:32 AM

People and institutions that pay her $75K for an inane speech shouldn’t have $75k sitting around.

stop2think on July 10, 2014 at 10:04 AM

It’s a nice racket when you can drive 20 year olds more than a hundred grand into debt with loans your institution don’t even have to take any risks on with no liability whatsoever concerning the quality or usefulness of your product.

ConstantineXI on July 10, 2014 at 10:40 AM

…got her a $600,000-a-year contract that lasted until recently, when NBC converted her contract to month-to-month.

The money trail leads right to the shills.

earlgrey on July 10, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Another “dead broke” Clinton

rjoco1 on July 10, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Only $75K per? Now THAT’S poor.

Marcola on July 10, 2014 at 11:21 AM

why do you guys hate capitalism so much?

everdiso on July 9, 2014 at 11:37 PM

Funny. I thought liberals considered taking tax deductions to be unpatriotic.

Why do you hate America?

fossten on July 10, 2014 at 12:18 PM

There is no rational reason to sit through a Chelsea Clinton speech, none. She has nothing to offer, unless you want to hear about her privileged life.

Archer on July 10, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Are we all jealous? I’m jealous.
Wouldn’t want to be her, or any Klinton, but would LOVE to make $75K for an hour of yammering.
Do that twice and buy a brand new BMW M4.
Oh yeah, baby!

Tard on July 10, 2014 at 2:16 PM

What could she possibly have to say that would be worth $75,000? Suppose it goes to the Clinton Foundation?

Amazingoly on July 10, 2014 at 2:40 PM

I’ve always considered Chelsea being Web Hubble’s daughter a no-brainer, but you know – her bony-fingered hands are exact duplicates of Bill’s bony-fingered hands. Guess I’ll google “web hubble hands” and see what turns up.

GGMac on July 10, 2014 at 7:20 PM

How to get a man to knock you up without having to be held at gunpoint while having one of the ugliest faces on the planet?

ConstantineXI on July 10, 2014 at 7:58 AM

Maybe she has pictures of him in a compromising situation. Blackmail…

zoyclem on July 11, 2014 at 7:56 AM

But she doesn’t care about money. The left is made up of such hypocrits!

californiacitizen on July 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Dunce spawn.

The calf doesn’t fall far from the cow.

thejackal on July 11, 2014 at 12:39 PM

How many want to be that the “First Child” only get $75,000 a speech because she lip syncs he mothers lease popular speeches.

MSGTAS on July 12, 2014 at 9:53 AM

How many want to be that the “First Child” only get $75,000 a speech because she lip syncs he mothers least popular speeches.

MSGTAS on July 12, 2014 at 9:54 AM

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