Clinton Cash Intake Could Complicate Debt Relief

Bill Clinton collected $10,085,000 in speeches alone in 2007, a figure that underscores his continued rock-star credentials on the international lecture circuit, according Sen. Hillary Clinton's financial disclosure forms for 2007, which were released Wednesday morning by the Secretary of the Senate.

The Clintons also earned between $11 million and $26 million last year by selling stocks from their personal portfolio, according to the newly released figures. The stock sales appear to be the proceeds from a blind trust that Senator Clinton announced she planned to liquidate during her presidential campaign to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The new disclosures could have political consequences for the Clintons. By calling more attention to the couple's personal wealth, as well as the former president's enormous earning power, the figures could make it more difficult to persuade Democratic Party donors to help pay off Hillary Clinton's $22.5 million in campaign debts—nearly half of which is owed to the Clintons personally.

A Clinton spokesperson today said that the senator is not seeking relief for the $13 million she poured into her campaign. The spokesperson pointed to a June conference call, in which the New York Democrat said she considered the loan an "investment" and is not expecting anybody to help pay it back.

According to the new financial disclosure, former president Clinton gave 54 speeches worldwide last year. Many of them were given to corporate giants such as Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, General Electric and Lehman Brothers. He averaged more than $186,000 an appearance. Clinton's most lucrative payday was in the United Kingdom on Aug. 14, 2007; a group called AEG London (which operates sports stadiums and franchises) paid him $425,000 for his services.

The disclosure shows that, even while actively campaigning on behalf of his wife's 2008 presidential bid, the former president kept a hectic international schedule. Among his speaking stops: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, London, South Korea and Canada. The international talks have been the most lucrative for the former president, commanding upward of $250,000 an appearance. Over a three-day period in Norway, Denmark and Sweden in May, Clinton earned $1,485,000. The Power Within, a Canada-based motivational speaking agency, shelled out $955,000 in 2007 to have Clinton appear in Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal and Niagara on the Lake, Canada.

After leaving the White House, Clinton turned to speaking to help settle about $12 million in legal bills accrued during his time as president. In 2006, he gave 352 speeches (nearly one a day) and earned $10.2 million (much of which the former president has donated to charity.) The number of speeches in 2007 was much lower, but appears to have been on average much more lucrative for the former president.

Bill Clinton's speaking schedule attracted media scrutiny last year because of the large overlap between the corporate groups paying him to speak and those donating to his wife's presidential campaign. But now the political impact could be different. After Hillary Clinton dropped out of the presidential race, Barack Obama agreed to ask his top donors to help his defeated rival pay off her campaign debts. But the plea thus far has not yielded nearly the amounts the Clintons and their supporters had hoped for.

Clinton Cash Intake Could Complicate Debt Relief | U.S.