Hillary Still Drawing Fire Over Costly College Speech Fee

Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 04:59 PM

By John Blosser

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Students at the University of Las Vegas continue to recoil at the $225,000 the school is planning to pay Hillary Clinton to give a speech at a fundraising gala on Oct. 13, with some asking that the former secretary of State donate her fee to the school.

"Donating the money back would be an example of her standing for higher education and standing for students," Daniel Waqar, 19, a spokesman for UNLV student government, said, adding that 225 students could each receive a $1,000 scholarship if Clinton gives the money back, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The UNLV speech and others are being used by opponents as an example of Clinton being out of touch with struggling Americans. A recent Washington Post article noted that Clinton has earned over a million dollars giving speeches at universities at a time when college campuses are hurting for money and increasing student tuition fees.

While some of the universities will not disclose the fees Clinton charged, the Post reports she collected a $300,000 fee for a speech at UCLA in March and a $251,250 fee from the University of Connecticut. Other paid speeches were made at the University at Buffalo, Colgate, Hamilton College in New York, Simmons College in Massachusetts and the University of Miami.

If Clinton received her standard speaking fee – the colleges won't say – that means she pulled in about $1.8 million.

In a recent interview with ABC in which Clinton claimed she and husband Bill were "dead broke" when they left the White House in 2001, Diane Sawyer asked her, "Do you think Americans are going to understand five times the median income in this country for one speech?"

"Well, let me put it this way: I thought making speeches for money was a much better thing than being connected with any one group or company — as so many people who leave public life do," Clinton replied. 

The high price of Clinton speeches has left her open to criticism from opponents, with the Republican National Committee noting her UNLV payment is four times the median household income in Nevada.

"When you are perceived as being out of touch with people that are struggling, with people that are out there working hard, I don't think flying on private jets and collecting $250,000 for a speech is considered to be hard work," chairman Reince Priebus said, The Hill reports. 

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