For ex-government officials, speaking fees serve as a crude — but still revealing — measurement of their historical importance. By that count, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is already outdoing her husband, former President Bill Clinton. On Wednesday Rosie Gray at BuzzFeed reported that Hillary's agency, Harry Walker, is requesting a fee of more than $200,000 to have her speak at conferences, colleges, and other kinds of events. (Thankfully the fee will be waived for "for causes [she] champions.") Now, that's a staggering amount for anyone to pull. But compared to her husband — who has given nearly 500 speeches since he left office in 2001, or approximately 3.5 speeches a month — it's even more remarkable. How much more remarkable, though?
According to a CNN report from July 2012, Bill has earned, on average, $189,000 per speech since he entered the circuit. (In other words, his wife is already making at least $11,000 more per speech than his historical average.) But perhaps the better measurement is how much Bill started out making per speech shortly after he left the White House. In February 2001, Bill got in some hot water for accepting a speaker fee — reported to be worth between $100,000 and $150,000 — to speak at an event hosted by the investment firm Morgan Stanley. (The firm's chairman later regretted asking Clinton to speak.) The fee wasn't as high as $150,000, according to the New York Times's report, but not as low as $100,000, so let's estimate that it was 125,000. In 2012 dollars — according to changes in the consumer price index — that would be $162,051.10.
That's at least $37,948.90 less than Hillary is currently commanding just days after stepping out of Foggy Bottom.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.