WASHINGTON – Like her high-profile parents, Chelsea Clinton is becoming a draw on the speaking circuit, with some organizations shelling out as much as $75,000 per speech.
Attention to the younger Clinton’s speaking fees, first reported by The New York Times, comes as her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, commands a reported $200,000 or more per speech while she considers another bid for the presidency.
The family’s finances have come under scrutiny in recent weeks after the former secretary of state said during her book tour that the family was “dead broke” and in debt when husband Bill Clinton left the White House in January 2001. She later called that description “inartful.” The Washington Post reported that the former president has earned more than $100 million in speaking fees since leaving the White House.
Student leaders at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, meanwhile, have protested the UNLV Foundation’s decision to pay the former first lady and New York senator $225,000 for a speech in October. The University of California, Los Angeles, paid Hillary Clinton $300,000 to speak in March. Mrs. Clinton has said she donates her university fees to the Clinton Foundation.
The youngest Clinton has taken a leading role in the family’s philanthropic foundation, and she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child in the fall. Her own compensation drew scrutiny when Politico reported that she earned $600,000 a year at NBC News, where she has infrequently appeared on camera as a special correspondent.
The Clintons are represented by the New York-based Harry Walker Agency, which arranges paid speeches for political, business and media figures, including former Vice-Presidents Dick Cheney and Al Gore, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Kamyl Bazbaz, a spokesman for Chelsea Clinton, said the majority of her speeches are unpaid and “all speeches organized by the Harry Walker Agency are on behalf of the Clinton Foundation and 100 per cent of the fees are remitted directly to the foundation.”
Some of Chelsea Clinton’s recent speaking engagements have included an address in March to the South by Southwest Festival in Texas and an event with female college student leaders at the University of Maryland.
Kelly Krause, a SXSW spokeswoman, said the festival did not pay Clinton for the keynote address. Katie Broendel, a spokeswoman for the American Association of University Women, which organized the Maryland conference, said it typically offers a small honorarium to speakers but that Clinton did not accept it for the June speech.