Clintons earned $30 million in 16 months, report shows

Isaac Brekken

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband made at least $30 million over the last 16 months, mainly from giving paid speeches to corporations, banks and other organizations, according to financial disclosure forms filed with federal elections officials on Friday.

The sum, which makes Mrs. Clinton among the wealthiest of the 2016 presidential candidates, could create challenges for the former secretary of state as she tries to cast herself as a champion of everyday Americans in an era of income inequality.

The Clintons at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The $25 million in speaking fees since the beginning of last year continue a lucrative trend for the Clintons: They have now earned more than $125 million on the circuit since leaving the White House in 2001.

In addition, the report shows, Mrs. Clinton reported income exceeding $5 million from her memoir of her time as secretary of state, "Hard Choices."

The Clintons' riches have already become a subject of political attacks, and her campaign has been eager to showcase Mrs. Clinton as a more down-to-earth figure. Her only declared Democratic opponent at this point, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, is an avowed socialist, while Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin have considerably more modest means.

A major dimension of Mrs. Clinton's candidacy is expected to be policy proposals to narrow the gap between the rich and poor and to address stagnant wages. Yet she is far from those problems; while she said she and President Clinton were "dead broke" when they left the White House in early 2001, they are now part of the American elite.

The report makes clear that Mrs. Clinton, since leaving the State Department, has joined the family speechmaking business with gusto. But the former president can still command higher fees than his wife, collecting about an average of about $250,000 per speech to $235,000 for Mrs. Clinton.

And while Mr. Clinton's largest honorarium was the $500,000 he collected from the EAT Stockholm Food Forum in Sweden, his wife's engagements topped out at $350,000.

Of Mrs. Clinton's speeches, 10 were delivered to audiences outside the United States, but they were not nearly as far-flung as those by her husband over the years. Nine were to Canadian groups: the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Whistler, British Columbia; trade organizations in Montreal and Vancouver; the think tank Canada 2020, which generates socially progressive policy; and five organized by the events firm tinePublic Inc. The 10th speech was to a health care company audience in Mexico City.

Mrs. Clinton also spoke to a mix of corporations (GE, Cisco, Deutsche Bank), medical and pharmaceutical groups (the California Medical Association and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association), and women's organizations like the Commercial Real Estate Women Network.

Mr. Clinton's speeches included a number of talks for financial firms, including Bank of America and UBS, as well as technology companies like Microsoft and Oracle.

The disclosure forms cover Jan. 1, 2014 to May 14 of this year. They show that even as his wife has begun her pursuit of the presidency, Mr. Clinton has shown no signs of slowing down: He gave three speeches in recent days, including one Thursday for the American Institute of Architects in Atlanta, and two on Tuesday in New York — one for Univision Management and one for Apollo Management Holdings.

The disclosure forms do not reveal what taxes the couple paid on their income, but a campaign official who requested anonymity said they had paid an effective tax rate of about 30 percent.

More from the New York Times:

Mrs. Clinton's last filing, which covered her final years as secretary of state, disclosed more than $16 million in income. Most of the money, mainly covering 2012, stemmed from about 70 honorariums for President Clinton.

The Clintons have come under increasing scrutiny for their financial activities since she announced her run for president last month. Much of the attention has been focused on the Clinton Foundation and the donations it received from foreign entities during the time that she was secretary of state.

But the couple has also faced criticism for giving highly paid speeches to certain groups, particularly the financial industry.

The speaking circuit has enriched many well-known Washington figures and former presidents, but the exorbitant pay for light work can distance them from the realities most Americans experience at their jobs. In one case, the report shows, Mrs. Clinton received $100,000 for a speech to the California Medical Association — by satellite.