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Bill Clinton's talk isn't cheap

Former president rakes in millions in speaking fees worldwide

By Robert Yoon
CNN Political Unit


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Bill Clinton


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former President Bill Clinton traveled the globe in 2005 giving speeches that earned him $7.5 million, according to financial disclosure documents his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, is required to file annually.

The Senate released financial disclosure statements Wednesday.

Clinton's speaking fees mark an almost nine-fold increase from the $875,000 he earned in 2004, when he spent much of the year writing and promoting his memoirs and later recuperating for several months from heart bypass surgery.

He earned $9.5 million in speaking fees in 2002.

It is not unusual for former presidents to command millions of dollars in speaking fees after leaving office.

Ronald Reagan made millions for speeches in Asia and Europe shortly after he left office and George H.W. Bush remains active on the speaking circuit today.

The difference for Clinton is that, as the spouse of the Democratic junior senator from New York, he is the only former president required to disclose the details of his speaking itinerary and fees every year.

Clinton's speaking tour in 2005 included 43 speeches in 14 countries. He began in February and averaged about four speeches a month, usually charging about $150,000 per event. On occasion, the price was much steeper.

On October 18, 2005, for example, he addressed about 8,500 business executives at a "Power Within" motivational speaking conference in Toronto, Ontario, for a price of $350,000.

The next day he addressed a similar group at a "Power Within" conference in Calgary, Alberta, for $300,000.

When factoring in his $125,000 fee for remarks to a different business group delivered via video-conference before the Toronto event, the former president's total two-day haul was $775,000.

In comparison, Clinton earned $800,000 during an entire four-year term as president.

Clinton earned $300,000 for a speech to the Abu Dhabi World Leadership Summit with British billionaire Richard Branson in November. He made the same fee for addressing the German media conglomerate Hubert Burda in December.

Clinton also gave paid speeches in the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Spain and Russia.

Clinton was an elected official on a fixed government salary for all but two years from 1976 (when he was elected Arkansas attorney general as a prelude to his tenure as the state's governor) until he left the White House in January 2001.

For many of those years it was his wife who was the family's primary breadwinner. With Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate, the tables have turned.

In addition to the speaking circuit, the former president continued to earn royalties from Random House for his 2004 autobiography, "My Life," although the Senate required only that he list his earnings as "over $1,000."

He also reported earning "over $1,000" in "nonemployee compensation" from infoUSA, an Omaha, Nebraska-based company that sells consumer databases to other businesses.

The Clintons together reported owning assets valued between $10 million and $50 million, with a revolving line of credit between $15,000 and $50,000 that is currently paid in full.

CNN's Xuan Thai, Megan Cummings and Josh Lipsky contributed to this report.

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