Video: Why won’t Hillary release the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches?

posted at 6:41 pm on February 5, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Just what exactly did Hillary Clinton tell Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs to earn such hefty speaking fees? No one knows, because Hillary kept a tight lid on access to the events, with no journalists allowed and all transcriptions left under her control. With Bernie Sanders attacking her progressive credibility by noting her long and lucrative association with the Left’s bêtes noires in the financial industry, more and more people would like access to those transcripts. NBC’s Chuck Todd challenged her during last night’s debate to release them all. Her response? She’ll … “look into it.

In other words, don’t hold your breath:

TODD: Are you willing to release the transcripts of all your paid speeches? We do know through reporting that there were transcription services for all of those paid speeches. In full disclosure, would you release all of them?

CLINTON: I will look into it. I don’t know the status, but I will certainly look into it. But, I can only repeat what is the fact that I spoke to a lot of different groups with a lot of different constituents, a lot of different kinds of members about issues that had to do with world affairs. I probably described more times than I can remember how stressful it was advising the President about going after Bin Laden.

Suuuuuuuure, she’ll “look into it.” This has come up occasionally ever since early last year, when the massive wealth increase of the Clintons during her tenure as Secretary of State ($57.5 million) became known. That’s when the contractual restrictions on access to her speeches emerged, at first in the context of the huge fees she charged colleges, but then more about entities with a lot more political clout. Hillary has had months, if not years, to release those transcripts and allay fears about her seemingly close relationship with Wall Street giants. A promise to “look into it” as the primaries begin insults the intelligence of all who hear it.

Chris Cillizza wasn’t impressed with the answer, but understands that Hillary has no choice but to dissemble:

Why not release them then — since they would likely reaffirm Clinton’s argument in the race that she has been there and done that at the highest level of national and international diplomacy? My guess is that in the speeches, Clinton likely acknowledges her various friends and acquaintances at Goldman Sachs (and other Wall Street firms) and praises them for the work they are doing.

Yes, it’s standard small talk. But it could look really, really bad in the context of the current campaign. Imagine a transcript of Clinton speaking to some big bank or investment firm where she thanks a litany of people she’s “been friends with forever” and then praises the broader enterprise for “all you do.”

In the hands of Sanders and his campaign team/supporters, that sort of thing could wind up being very problematic to Clinton’s attempts — already somewhat clumsy — to cast herself as a true progressive fighter for the 99 percent against the one percent. It might even proof deadly to those attempts.

 

Yahoo’s Rick Newman is also unimpressed, but for different reasons:

Clinton herself has handled the whole matter as if it’s a scandal, however, revealing the discomfort she feels being tied to Wall Street. To dig into just one detail: When Cooper asked her whether she had to be paid $225,000 per speech by Goldman, she said, “Well I don’t know. That’s what they offered.” That’s baloney. A review of Clinton’s 92 paid speeches from the time she stepped down as Secretary of State in 2013 to the time she declared herself a presidential candidate in 2015 shows her average fee was $234,000 per speech. Speaker bureaus typically negotiate speaking engagements on behalf of high-flying clients such as Clinton, and they don’t accept whatever the group seeking a speaker offers. Instead, they stipulate a minimum fee and work upward from there.

Clinton actually undercharged Goldman Sachs, since she was paid $9,000 less than her average fee. The most she got for a speech was $400,000, from the Jewish United Fund in October of 2013. Qualcomm paid her $335,000 in 2014, while eBay paid her $315,000 in 2015. Those groups might have gotten a better deal had they bargained harder.

Besides, Newman argues, Hillary was just earning what the market would bear, so why should anyone find this problematic?

Any other candidate might defend his or her right to make as much money as possible while a private citizen. Donald Trump would probably boast about it and cite the exorbitant speaking fees as evidence of how much people love him. If Clinton were more comfortable being a capitalist, she might come right out and say, “I like being rich, and I want you, dear voter, to get rich too.”

Political donations from Wall Street—and from any other moneyed interest—are a totally different matter and a genuine cause for concern, especially the unlimited amounts of money rich donors can give to super PACs. Such donations do not represent a market price for work performed in a private transaction. At best, they’re an effort to help like-minded candidates obtain public office. At worst, they’re a down payment on favors expected later, whether in the public interest or not. Elections are not supposed to be the same as a product or service priced as high as the market will bear, though many critics feel that’s what they’ve become.

There are a few points to offer in response to this. First, neither of the Clintons were aiming to become post-presidential capitalists. If former presidents and their spouses want to have post-electoral careers on the speaking circuit, Newman’s right — let them earn what the market will bear. However, the Clintons didn’t want a post-electoral career, and all of these firms knew it. As soon as Bill’s term ended, they wanted to return to the White House. They built themselves an independent fortune and tons of political and financial contacts to maximize their chances for success. Goldman Sachs didn’t pay $225,000 a speech to hear Hillary expound on the Tuzla Dash; they saw the Clintons as likely to return to the presidency and wanted to hold some chits when that day came. Newman’s right that this is different than political donations; it’s worse. This puts the money directly in the pockets of the politicians getting bought.

On top of that, Hillary’s not running as a capitalist or as a defender of capitalism.  She’s running as a progressive on an explicit class-warfare platform, albeit with a somewhat softer approach than Bernie Sanders. She complains about Wall Street influence after having made millions off of the Clintons’ contacts in the financial industry, and about CEO pay when she and Bill made $57.5 million in four years while serving as Secretary of State. On this, as in so many other areas, Hillary wants to eat her cake and have it, too.

Finally, in the same debate, Hillary claims she’s all about transparency. Yet she used a homebrew e-mail server to thwart constitutional oversight of the State Department by Congress and FOIA actions, and spent years hiding her Wall Street speeches from journalists and voters. It’s as hypocritical and cynical as politics can get.


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Comments

Why release them? I’m sure it is exactly the same as her stump speech- Hold Wall St accountable! Down with hedge fund managers! (Except my son-in-law, he’s cool). Right?

tdarrington on February 5, 2016 at 6:45 PM

She is the opposite of teflon.

More like fly paper, and you know what attracts flies.

SpongePuppy on February 5, 2016 at 6:46 PM

I suspect having her on record saying something like “the business of America is business” wouldn’t be a big help to her now.

whatcat on February 5, 2016 at 6:47 PM

I probably described more times than I can remember how stressful it was advising the President about going after Bin Laden.

Wow. Goldman Sachs couldn’t get enough of that story… so they brought her back two more times to hear it again. $675k to tell about how she advised Obama to kill Bin Laden (with his bare hands). Maybe she tossed in her sniper story too?

Hill60 on February 5, 2016 at 6:54 PM

Hillary is the worst. There’s something wrong with anyone who’d vote for her. I have more respect for the Bernie fruitcakes.

forest on February 5, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Hoisted on left wing petard.

rob verdi on February 5, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Can the dems really run Sanders?

Isn’t it too late for Biden now?

BoxHead1 on February 5, 2016 at 6:58 PM

But, I can only repeat what is the fact that I spoke to a lot of different groups with a lot of different constituents, a lot of different kinds of members about issues that had to do with world affairs.

Shorter Hill:

I said different things to different people…whatever it took to get them to write me a check.

BobMbx on February 5, 2016 at 6:59 PM

With the Clintons you get two standards for the price of one. (Though with those speaking fees you should get more.)

rbj on February 5, 2016 at 7:00 PM

Failure to indict can’t help but rub stink all over Obama. He has the power to start or stop it and everyone knows it. Takes a lot of shine off that legacy he is trying so hard to build. Even a quick indictment and pardon wouldn’t set well. I think the feebs will roll a few of the underlings, give them immunity in exchange for testimony, and let the train roar on down the tracks.

butch on February 5, 2016 at 7:06 PM

I expect she told Goldman Sachs as SOS she would insure they receive inside international knowledge before anyone else and support represent their position within the US government. Furthermore that she planned to run for president and if, with their financial help, she won she’d be Wall Streets biggest supporter and insure them of high yields in return.

What else would you tell folks who are giving you $675k. My first thought is they bought and own her speech so we need someone in their IT departments to leak the video for the benefit the American people and their country. It would take too many of these leaks to clean this up once and for all.

tej on February 5, 2016 at 7:08 PM

You misspelled “screeches” in the headline, Ed …

ShainS on February 5, 2016 at 7:10 PM

You gotta hand it to the Clintons. They will be in the history books as having redefined the meaning of the word, “sleaze”.

vnvet on February 5, 2016 at 7:11 PM

Can the dems really run Sanders?

Isn’t it too late for Biden now?

BoxHead1 on February 5, 2016 at 6:58 PM

I’ve heard some speculate that he could win it somehow via a brokered convention without having to have campaigned or spend any money to that point — but I don’t know how the mechanics of that would work.

Of course, all of Bernie’s supporters would probably not vote in the general and guarantee a 57-state landslide win for the R …

ShainS on February 5, 2016 at 7:13 PM

Isn’t it too late for Biden now?

BoxHead1 on February 5, 2016 at 6:58 PM

.
Nope. Brokered convention. Avoid all that onerous, demanding, exhausting primary campaigning and just waltz in as The Party Savior when neither candidate has enough votes. Of course, Biden will have to neutralize Debbie Wassername Schlitz to get it done.

ExpressoBold on February 5, 2016 at 7:14 PM

I expect she told Goldman Sachs as SOS she would insure they receive inside international knowledge before anyone else and support represent their position within the US government. Furthermore that she planned to run for president and if, with their financial help, she won she’d be Wall Streets biggest supporter and insure them of high yields in return.

What else would you tell folks who are giving you $675k. My first thought is they bought and own her speech so we need someone in their IT departments to leak the video for the benefit the American people and their country. It would take too many of these leaks to clean this up once and for all.

tej on February 5, 2016 at 7:08 PM

yes, being owned by goldman sachs is a dead give away

I mean, you take a guy like Cruz, people are liking the Cruz — they think he’s for the free market, and he’s owned by Goldman Sachs,” Paul said. I mean, he and Hillary have more in common

Garyinaz66 on February 5, 2016 at 7:14 PM

You gotta hand it to the Clintons. They will be in the history books as having redefined the meaning of the word, “sleaze”.

vnvet on February 5, 2016 at 7:11 PM

Amazingly, that was already true by 2001 … and has increased a few orders of magnitude since.

ShainS on February 5, 2016 at 7:16 PM

Nonpartisan. Meh.

Indiana Jim on February 5, 2016 at 7:20 PM

Hillary is the worst. There’s something wrong with anyone who’d vote for her. I have more respect for the Bernie fruitcakes.

forest on February 5, 2016 at 6:56 PM

I have to agree with you here. But they’re still fruitcakes.

The Rogue Tomato on February 5, 2016 at 7:23 PM

Like I mentioned earlier today on another thread……..

I think we need to co-opt the language of the Left and take the word “FREE” and destroy it’s effectiveness for Bernie Sanders and Hildebeast.

Here’s what we do: PAY ATTENTION gop CAMPAIGN STAFFS……

Candidate X:

I want to say to you today that I support a FREE ECONOMY. We need more FREE STUFF. We need to FREE INDIVIDUALS to create new businesses.

We need to FREE MOM AND POPs of excessive government regulations. We as a nation need to FREE UP OUR EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS of the burden of dealing with a Federal Department of Education and their endless red tape and confusing mandates. We need to FREE our Nations Energy companies to responsibly explore ALL resources that this great land has.

And finally we need to FREE EACH AND EVERY AMERICAN to find their great calling without the additional financial burden of decades of payments on the National debt, by stopping the growth of out of control Federal spending.

We demand of the Establishment and the Ruling Class in this country that we MUST HAVE MORE FREE!!!!!”

LET’S TAKE IT AWAY FROM THE LEFT……….it’s ripe for the pickings.

PappyD61 on February 5, 2016 at 7:25 PM

Make sure that voice doesn’t hector us for 8 years.

Schadenfreude on February 5, 2016 at 7:39 PM

PappyD61, that is an outstanding idea.

Lord Whorfin on February 5, 2016 at 8:28 PM

Here in New Hampshire, this meme has been bubbling in Democrat-Land ever since the day before yesterday, when the State’s flagship Democrat Newspaper, the Concord Monitor, ran a guest editorial by everybody’s other favorite Crazy Old Uncle, Ralphie “Chevy Corvair” Nader. The Monitor, by the way, has been “flagging” since 2009. Wonder why?

My Turn: Hillary Clinton should tell the people what she said in her private speeches

Some highlights:

Last month as Hillary Clinton was leaving a town meeting in Manchester, Lee Fang of the Intercept asked her if she would release the transcripts of her paid, and very private speeches to Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street powerhouse historically deep in Washington, D.C., influence-peddling. Mrs. Clinton just laughed.

It is probably a good bet that her laugh was masking a deep worry, shared by her husband, that disclosing what she confidentially told big-business conferences and conventions around the country, which paid her about $5,000 a minute, would emerge as a dominant issue in the mainstream media.

Reporters have taken notice of her $250,000-and-up speeches before trade associations from which they have been excluded. But journalists have not demanded that she tell the voters what she told the executives from Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, Golden Tree Asset Management, the National Automotive Dealers Association, Deutsche Bank, the National Association of Realtors, eBay, Cisco, among other plutocracy paymasters seeking to expand their political influence.

According to the New York Times, her “contracts for such events typically include strict confidentiality agreements, meaning there are no known video recordings of Mrs. Clinton’s Wall Street appearances.” But why would Clinton, in a heated context with Sen. Bernie Sanders, maintain this cloak of secrecy and further the speculation it feeds? Could it have something to do with the many deals and entanglements, for political pursuits and self-enrichment, that have enveloped both Clintons over the years, detailed in Peter Schweizer’s recent book, Clinton Cash?

-snip-

What might have Hillary Clinton told these commercial audiences? What did those in attendance want to hear from her in such closed-door sessions? She says she spoke at these corporate gatherings about the state of the world. That is a big umbrella indeed. No doubt she delivered her views of U.S. foreign and military policy – unclassified observations she made in media interviews or public addresses. However, Hillary does her homework for each specific audience she addresses; it’s her way of responding to their priority interests and impressing them with her command of the subject matter.

-snip-

According to Politico, drawing leaks from attendees, she told the Goldman-Sachs financiers that banker-bashing was unproductive and foolish. What these businesspeople want, of course, is access, should she become president, and such meetings generate friendships. They also want to hear Hillary Clinton’s views on regulation, tax policies, subsidies, government contracting matters and trade. We won’t know what she told those groups, who made her a millionaire many times over (she received in a single speech five times the household median income for a year) until the press and the people demand their right to know and judge her accordingly.

So far she has been able to dodge disclosing the content of her speeches, while interviewers were focusing on the giant speech fees. But now she is in New Hampshire – the last state of “retail campaigning” and town meetings where voters can put face-to-face to Clinton the demand that she disclose the content of her speeches inside these closed-door business gatherings. Once she leaves New Hampshire, her flaks and screeners will rapidly replace people-to-people dialogue with big-media buys and photo opportunities.

The right to know is never more important than when it pertains to the activities of presidential candidates. The White House is a cauldron of excessive secrecy – secret deals, secret memos, secret meetings with special interests on matters of serious public policy. Morbid secrecy breeds recklessness and bad government. If there is ever a time to teach presidential candidates about openness in government, it is when they are desperately seeking our votes.

-snip-

In any event, before Hillary Clinton departs from New Hampshire on Tuesday, the voters themselves who meet her can insist that she tell them just what she told those business magnates on Wall Street. She has a large staff and good files for fully and promptly responding to lifting this strange curtain of secrecy around closed speeches for big fees.

Her laughing off any such questions is not the way, as I recall, New Hampshirites expect candidates to treat them. My mother always had a way with getting answers from candidates she met. On shaking hands with a candidate, she did not let go of the candidate’s hand until she got her answer.

CHEVY CORVAIR+

Someone should tell Uncle Ralphie that there are still plenty of those “unsafe at any speed” Chevy Corvairs out there; if you have the dough there are many examples for sale online. Every once in awhile even an ultra-rare Corvair Pickup Truck will show up.

Del Dolemonte on February 5, 2016 at 8:36 PM

She kinda lies a lot, that’s why.

Philly on February 5, 2016 at 9:13 PM

If former presidents and their spouses want to have post-electoral careers on the speaking circuit, Newman’s right — let them earn what the market will bear.

I look forward to see what the going rate for Hillary speeches will be after this November when she isn’t the president-elect. She will clearly be speaking as a post electoral careerist and only gaining financially, like a true capitalist. The paying audience won’t be getting much in the way of future connections and favors which should reflect a true value for the wisdom of her words.

I would predict she’ll never see north of $100k again.

parke on February 5, 2016 at 9:19 PM

Isn’t it too late for Biden now?

BoxHead1 on February 5, 2016 at 6:58 PM

.
Nope. Brokered convention. Avoid all that onerous, demanding, exhausting primary campaigning and just waltz in as The Party Savior when neither candidate has enough votes. Of course, Biden will have to neutralize Debbie Wassername Schlitz to get it done.

ExpressoBold on February 5, 2016 at 7:14 PM

Earlier, when the email scandal was taking off, there was an article that mentioned in the first round the D delegates are required to cast votes for a candidate that was on the primary ballots.

However, they can vote to change the rules before they vote, which would open it up for Biden.

I would not be surprised to see a Biden/Warren ticket. I think it is very unlikely that Warren will come out as publicly endorsing Hillary given her obvious criminal behavior.

talkingpoints on February 5, 2016 at 9:35 PM

Why doesn’t Bernie ask her? Why hasn’t Bernie asked her why she chose to use an unsecure server from her home for gov business? Why hasn’t Bernie asked her why she won’t release her special speeches that brought in so much money for her/bill? I’ll tell you why, because Bernie is her shield, he’s just a prop candidate so it looks like she has someone to run against. He’s not gonna say/do anything to tarnish her.

soapyjeans on February 6, 2016 at 12:18 AM

That clip right there might very well be where she lost the nomination

TylerMichaels on February 6, 2016 at 12:58 AM

PappyD61 on February 5, 2016 at 7:25 PM

You do realize that “free” = “government” to a staggering large percentage of the population, right?

TylerMichaels on February 6, 2016 at 1:04 AM

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were high up Dems working hard on that indictment, hoping to draft Biden.

Grace_is_sufficient on February 6, 2016 at 3:07 AM

Are they in the same place as Obummer’s hidden stuff?

Us Proles can’t hide squat from government officials if they demand it.

Dr. ZhivBlago on February 6, 2016 at 5:39 AM

Hillary is protecting her “say for pay” information far better than she ever protected the nation’s most sensitive secrets. Mata Hari and Tokyo Rose would be far more loyal Americans than she

Don L on February 6, 2016 at 6:34 AM

Why doesn’t Bernie ask her?
soapyjeans on February 6, 2016 at 12:18 AM

You may be right. I suspect Joe Biden was part of the fallback plan from the get go. Why such unthinkable thinking? Because they’re the left, where lies and deceit are the default badges of Honor.

Don L on February 6, 2016 at 6:37 AM

She won’t release them because she’s already got enough problems without proving to be a hypocrite.

grumpyank on February 6, 2016 at 10:05 AM

Campus radicals Bill and Hillary have spent decades trying to convince us that they are moderates. One would expect Hillary to give a wink to Wall Street.

grumpyank on February 6, 2016 at 10:10 AM

Why won’t Hillary release the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches?

Because she feels it might alarm some voters if they were to discover that the script she wrote for those speeches — the script she slaved over for many long months in semi-isolation — reads as follows:

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

and on and on like that for over 100 pages.

FlameWarrior on February 6, 2016 at 10:36 AM

Why won’t Hillary release the transcripts of her speeches? It is simple, they were a lot of talk about nothing important. Especially those given to universities where x Clinton employees were in charge. It is a campaign donation that is outside of the Federal Election Commission jurisdiction. The Clinton’s gaming the system again. All three of them are looters.

TheNakedEye on February 6, 2016 at 3:47 PM

Most open and transparently corrupt administration ever….

ProfShadow on February 6, 2016 at 7:10 PM

Video: Why won’t Hillary release the transcripts of her Wall Street speeches?

Clinton herself has handled the whole matter as if it’s a scandal, however, revealing the discomfort she feels being tied to Wall Street.

The upside is how stupid this one is, and how inept she and buddies will continue to be in the future. Just keep stepping in the $h!t, then staring at your shoes, babe.

RL on February 7, 2016 at 5:17 AM