Here’s what Clinton’s $275K speaker fee covers

The Washington PostJuly 17, 2014 

Democrats 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton


The University at Buffalo, the largest campus in the State University of New York system, paid $275,000 for Hillary Rodham Clinton to appear for an event on campus last year, according to a contract disclosed Wednesday.

Clinton’s agent asked that the university provide “a presidential glass panel teleprompter and a qualified operator” for the October 2013 speech, according to the contract. The agreement also stipulated that Clinton’s office had “final approval” of who would introduce her and the moderator of any question-and-answer session, as well as “the sets, backdrops, banners, scenery, logos, settings, etc.,” according to the contract.

The topic and length of the former secretary of state’s speech would be at her “sole discretion,” the document said.

The requirements are spelled out in a nine-page contract between the University at Buffalo and Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency, which books speeches and other appearances for public figures. The contract was obtained through the freedom of information law by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit research and educational group.

The contract reveals for the first time many of the details surrounding the lucrative speaking career of Clinton, who is considering a run for president in 2016. Since stepping down from the State Department in early 2013, Clinton has addressed scores of audiences, many of them trade conventions, Wall Street banks and industry groups.

Clinton has also given paid speeches at eight universities, four of them public institutions. In those instances, she has said, she donated her fees to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the family’s nonprofit philanthropic organization. The Buffalo contract stipulates that the “net honorarium” go to the Clinton Foundation, but only after the “full contract fee” of $275,000 was first paid to the Harry Walker Agency. The contract does not say how much of the fee would eventually flow to the foundation.

The University at Buffalo issued a statement Wednesday saying that “no state funding or student tuition revenue” was used to pay for Clinton’s speech. The statement said the fee was paid for by ticket sales and other sponsorships and endowments.

About 6,500 students and community members attended Clinton’s Oct. 23 speech at the university’s Alumni Arena.

The Buffalo contract stipulated that a pre-speech reception featuring Clinton be closed to the news media, although the speech itself was open to the press. The contract also required that the university pay a fee of $1,000 to have a stenographer transcribe Clinton’s speech, but that the transcript be “solely for the Speaker’s records,” and that the university was not permitted to tape the speech.

The university was required to reserve 20 seats in a “priority seating area” for Clinton’s staff and guests, and to pay for any additional security requested by the U.S. Secret Service, such as magnetometers and trained staff to search the bags of attendees, the contract said.

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