In all, Clinton has racked up at least 15 awards in the nine months since she left the State Department, with more to come at the same time she is weighing a presidential campaign in 2016. Her supporters say the accolades are well deserved. But it also appears that Clinton has figured out how to leverage the awards to her political advantage, just as the groups honoring her benefit from having the would-be candidate promote their causes.
The awards circuit has effectively become Clinton’s pre-campaign campaign, allowing her to speak out on issues of her choosing and cement ties with key Democratic constituencies — all with little apparent political risk…
Most of Clinton’s public appearances this year have come at tightly choreographed awards ceremonies or at closed-press trade conventions, such as one held Tuesday morning in Atlanta by the National Association of Convenience Stores. Some appearances net her upward of $200,000.
“It appears the only way to get Hillary to do an event is to either write her a big check or to give her a trophy,” said Tim Miller, executive director of America Rising PAC, the leading Republican group going after Clinton in anticipation of her 2016 candidacy.