153 million

I heard someone say on NPR the other day that the two Clintons have collected $150 million in speaking fees since he left office. My jaw dropped. I knew they’d both been pocketing huge fees, of course, but I didn’t know it added up to 150 MILLION.

CNN did the accounting a couple of months ago.

Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, combined to earn more than $153 million in paid speeches from 2001 until Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign last spring, a CNN analysis shows.

In total, the two gave 729 speeches from February 2001 until May, receiving an average payday of $210,795 for each address. The two also reported at least $7.7 million for at least 39 speeches to big banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic 2016 front-runner, collecting at least $1.8 million for at least eight speeches to big banks.

I knew the bank part. I didn’t know the 150 MILLION part. Or maybe I did, but just didn’t register the scope of the exploitation.

The analysis was made at a time when Hillary Clinton has been under scrutiny for her ties to Wall Street, which has been a major focus of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail.

“What being part of the establishment is, is in the last quarter, having a super PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one’s life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests,” Sanders said at Thursday’s Democratic debate hosted by MSNBC.

The former secretary of state testily responded to Sanders’ charges.

“Time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth which really comes down to, you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. And I just absolutely reject that, senator, and I really don’t think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough,” Clinton said.

She then challenged him: “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly, but you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation I ever received.”

You know, she really should stop making that argument. She should stop personalizing the issue and be honest about the real issue, the not-personal issue – that money in politics is corrupting, and that’s why bribery is a bad thing and should not be allowed, no matter how nice and upstanding any particular politician may be. It doesn’t matter that she’s convinced she never changed a view or a vote because of any donation (if she really is convinced of that, as opposed to just performing conviction). She doesn’t get to exempt herself from general laws because she knows how wonderful she is. She doesn’t get to make it about her character. For that matter she doesn’t get to act as if she has no clue that people can be wrong about their own motives, and lie to themselves about how good they are, and the like. She should be acting as if she is subject to the same errors and biases and self-interested motivations as other human beings are, as opposed to assuming and telling us she is saintly and incorruptible to an extent beyond the reach of ordinary people.

Also, she doesn’t get to be that fatuous about influence and agency. How could it be the case that donations and inflated speaking fees had no influence on her views and votes whatsoever? That would be supernatural. Why should her views and votes be supernatural when no one else’s are? How exactly did she manage to make herself wholly immune to the influence of huge sums of money?

By saying that kind of shit she just does more to entrench the whole disgusting corrupt process. It pisses me off.

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