Is Hillary Clinton Channeling George Costanza About Her Speaking Fees?

Robert Jonathan - Author

Jul. 6 2014, Updated 7:52 p.m. ET

Hillary Clinton late last week announced that she donates all her college speaking fees to charity — her own charity that is.

Could this arrangement be an inadvertent send-up from Seinfeld?

As The Inquisitrpreviously reported, Mrs. Clinton — the presumed 2016 presidential frontrunner for the Democrats — told ABC News that all the fees go to the Clinton Foundation “to continue [the organization’s] life-changing and life-saving work.”

The former Secretary of State and foe of income inequality makes about $200,000 a pop for speeches at colleges and in front of corporate groups.

Presumably any donated fees from those college appearances are tax deductible.

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Although they favor higher tax rates for the one-percent, the Clintons have reportedly also set up a trust to minimize their IRS liability under the estate (a.k.a. death) tax, with the presumed beneficiary being their daughter and her family.

You may recall from Seinfeld TV show that Fesitivus-celebrating cheapskate George Costanza gave those on his Christmas list a card indicating that instead of a gift, a donation was made in their names to the “Human Fund,” which turned out to be a made-up charity. In typical Seinfeld fashion, the whole scheme backfired.

The Clinton Foundation is real, of course, but it also appears to provide a soft landing for Clinton political operatives in between elections. In calendar year 2012, the glitzy philanthropic organization spent a staggering $62 million just on salaries and benefits.

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who is already a millionaire at age 34, coincidentally happens to be an executive at the Clinton Foundation.

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Bill and Hillary Clinton have a reported net worth in the range of $100 million to $200 million. During her unexpectedly contentious Hard Choicesbook tour, Hillary Clinton claimed she and her husband weren’t truly well off, but that they’ve done well through hard work. Does flying all over the place by private jet in a bubble of assistants and bodyguards to deliver ghostwritten speeches off a teleprompter sound like hard work to you?

Clinton previously made headlines by telling Diane Sawyer that she and her husband were dead broke when they left the White House, even though they reportedly had $16 million in the bank by the end of 2001.

The huge fees that they have raked in from the corporate world and possibly in the academia raise possible implications of corporate welfare, influence buying, and/or conflicts of interest, particularly if Mrs. Clinton runs for president.

Any parallel between Hillary Clinton and George Costanza’s Human Fund may be a stretch obviously.

That notwithstanding, would Mrs. Clinton be better served by speaking at colleges for free to avoid any perception of self dealing?

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