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$275k Clinton Speaking Fee Questioned

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton received $275,000 for a 2013 speech to the University at Buffalo, and her contract included provisions for a teleprompter and final approval of the set and backdrop, the school said.

The university released a nine-page contract it signed with the Harry Walker Agency, which oversees Clinton's speeches. It was obtained through a freedom of information request by the New York-based Public Accountability Initiative, a public interest investigative research organization.     

WBEN EXTRA:  Read The Entire Contract


"The headlines we were reading a few weeks ago were about Hillary Clinton bemoaning .. that they were destitute when they left the White House. .. and here we are looking at a contract that says she is going to get $275,000 for a few minutes of speaking...."

- Dave Levinthal, The Center For Public Integrity

HEAR MORE with Levinthal On The WBEN Liveline

The university said in a statement Wednesday that no state funding or student tuition revenue was used to pay for Clinton's speech.

  On The WBEN Liveline
Prof. Bruce Bryski, SUNY Buffalo State

It said the former secretary of state's fee was covered by ticket sales and other sponsorships and endowments.

But that is not enough to silence critics, including SUNY Buffalo State Communications Prof. Bruce Bryski.  A frequent political commentator, Bryski says the fee is "shocking and outrageous"

"SUNY is strapped for money.  Its priorities are out of whack," Bryski said.

The contract included several provisions, requiring the university provide a "presidential glass panel teleprompter and a qualified operator," and with Clinton's office having final approval of the person introducing her and the moderator of any question-and-answer session.

The agency representing the potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate had approval of the "sets, backdrops, banners, scenery, logos, settings, etc.," and the topic and length of the former first lady's speech was at her "sole discretion."

The contract also requires the university to pay $1,000 to have a stenographer transcribe Clinton's speech but the transcription was "solely for the speaker's records." The university was not allowed to record the speech or broadcast it.

Clinton has given several paid speeches at universities since departing the State Department. She has said her fees have been used to support her family's philanthropic foundation.

Here's the statement the University released on the matter. A copy of the contract has been released to the Associated Press, but is not apparent on the site

Distinguished Speaker Series Fees

Revised July 16, 2014

Agreements with speakers who participate in UB’s Distinguished Speakers Series (DSS) are maintained by the University at Buffalo Foundation, a private, non-profit organization which, by New York State law, is not subject to the New York Freedom of Information Law.  As such, these agreements, including information about speaking fees, are not public information.

When the university does possess records they are released in accordance with New York State Freedom of Information Law.

No state funding or student tuition revenue is used to pay speaking fees, which are financed entirely through ticket sales, sponsorships and endowments specifically directed to the university’s Distinguished Speakers Series.

In its 28th year at the university, UB’s Distinguished Speakers Series has a long tradition of bringing to the campus and community a wide range of public figures in the arts, culture, society and global politics to foster dialogue and debate about the issues of the day.  Past speakers have included former U.S. presidents, best-selling authors, civil rights leaders, renowned scientists and Nobel laureates, among many others. These national and international thought leaders provide our community with a richness of discourse that enhances our region’s quality of life.

Any request for information about agreements with DSS speakers should be made to the University at Buffalo Foundation. Release of the information would be solely under their discretion. The foundation is completely independent of the State of New York and of SUNY in the exercise of their fiduciary responsibilities.  The foundation may be contacted at:

University at Buffalo Foundation
P.O. Box 900
Buffalo, NY  14226-0900


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Locations : BuffaloNew YorkWashington
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