Democrats

Clinton discloses $1.5M in speaking fees, calls on Trump to release tax returns

Democratic presidential frontrunner still faces stiff primary challenge from Bernie Sanders; reaction from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers

 

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton filed financial documents late Tuesday showing that she earned about $1.5 million in speaking fees in 2015 prior to launching her presidential campaign in April of that year.

The financial disclosure form filed to the Federal Election Commission earlier this week also showed that Clinton earned more than $5 million in royalties from her book "Hard Choices". Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, continued his lucrative speaking tour through last November, reaping more than $5 million from banking, tech and other corporate interests.

Clinton used the release to hit presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump for refusing to publicly release his tax returns, a theme she has harped on in recent days. Clinton's disclosure form was made public hours after Trump put out financial documents describing his personal wealth at $10 billion.

"Despite Donald Trump's boasting, submitting his personal financial disclosure form is no breakthrough for transparency," Clinton campaign spokeswoman Christina Reynolds said. "The true test for Donald Trump is whether he will adhere to the precedent followed by every presidential candidate in the modern era and make his tax returns available, as Hillary Clinton has done."

Trump said his financial disclosure form showed "a tremendous cash flow" and growing revenues from his businesses. The form — which will be publicly available after an initial review by the government — should offer updated information about the value of his assets and the revenues produced by his businesses. According to Trump, over the last 17 months his businesses' revenues grew by $190 million, and he earned $557 million in income.

Clinton's speeches to Wall Street interests between 2013 and 2015 spurred questions about her own transparency, leading to repeated calls from her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, for transcripts of her talks to banks, investment houses and other financial interests.

The five speeches disclosed in Clinton's latest documents include the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce paying her $150,000 for a talk in January 2015, following two other speeches in Canada that also were co-sponsored by the bank.

In all, Clinton made at least 94 appearances before corporate and other special interests between 2013 and 2015, earning more than $21.6 million for her services. A review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence by The Associated Press showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton's speeches have actively sought to sway the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.

Former President Bill Clinton listed a February 2015 appearance in Nashville for UBS Wealth Management Americas — a Swiss international bank that Hillary Clinton also spoke to in July 2013. Among his other speech clients in 2015 were Apollo Management Holdings, L.P., an investment firm that his wife also spoke to; the tech firm Oracle Corporation and the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade and lobbying group.

Hillary Clinton's disclosure also shows that her husband made an undisclosed amount of money last year in consulting roles for two international interests — the Dubai-based Varkey GEMS Foundation and Laureate Education Inc., a global for-profit education firm. Bill Clinton ended his relationship with Laureate last year after earning $16.5 million as the operation's honorary chancellor, according to previously-released Clinton tax records. Bill Clinton also has made more than $5.6 million in an honorary role for the GEMS foundation.

Bill Clinton used a limited liability company called WJC, LLC to handle his consulting fees, according to the disclosure filed by his wife. The disclosure does not detail the exact amount of consulting income Bill Clinton made because under federal reporting guidelines, any such spousal income over $1,000 is not required to be made public. Hillary Clinton also used a limited liability company, ZFS Holdings, LLC, to hold her speech and book earnings.

Hillary Clinton's 2015 disclosure showed the couple's total worth was estimated to be between about $11 million and $53 million, according to the broad ranges typically provided by the federal form. Her 2016 filing does not provide similar ranges, but the Clintons' 2015 earnings appear to be in line with those earlier figures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.