One of the issues that critics have used to attack Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is the huge amount of money she receives in speaking fees from large investment banks. The Democratic presidential candidate has managed to dodge questions about the issue in past interviews, but during a CNN town hall event on Wednesday evening, Clinton was unable to give an explanation for accepting six-figure Goldman Sachs fees for her speaking engagements.
Moderator Anderson Cooper asked the Democratic frontrunner if accepting $675,000 for three speeches was a mistake or error in judgment. Clinton defended herself, saying it was not a mistake but she was just accepting what she was “offered.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 4, 2016
“I don’t know, that’s what they offered,” Hillary Clinton said, which made the audience laugh. She also added that previous secretaries of state she knew had also done that.
Cooper then asked the presidential hopeful if she ever thought that it would be a problem in her presidential campaign. Clinton said she had not thought about its repercussions because, at the time, she was not thinking of running for president.
“I wasn’t committed to running,” the former Secretary of State began.
“When I was secretary of state, several times I said, ‘You know, I think I’m done.’ And so many people came to me, started talking to me,” Clinton told Cooper.
“The circumstances, the concerns I had about the Republicans taking back the White House, because I think they wrecked what we achieved in the ’90s with 23 million new jobs, I did not want to see that happen again,” she added.
Watch Hillary Clinton Respond to the Goldman Sachs Issue
Hillary Clinton assured U.S. citizens that accepting thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs would not affect her judgment when it comes to imposing strict rules to regulate the finance industry.
“But anybody who knows me, who thinks that they can influence me — name anything they’ve influenced me on. Just name one thing. I’m out here every day saying I’m going to shut them down. I’m going after them,” said Clinton. “I’m going to jail them if they should be jailed. I’m going to break them up. They’re not giving me very much money now, I can tell you that much. Fine with me,” she firmly added.
Bernie Sanders Has Consistently Called Out Hillary Clinton For Accepting Speaking Fees From Big Banks
Clinton’s critics — especially her rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — have consistently brought up her huge speaking fees to point out her relationship with Wall Street.
The Sanders campaign sent out a release to reporters showing Clinton’s association with Goldman Sachs, along with news bits revealing how the investment bank contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
Goldman Sachs CEO is Not Endorsing Either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has avoided any involvement in the Democratic primaries and remains tightlipped on Hillary Clinton and the controversial issue.
When Cooper asked the leading Democratic candidate if she regrets giving the speeches, Clinton stood her ground as she said “No, I don’t.”
However, the Q&A led many to question why Clinton stated that only 3 percent of her donations came from the finance and investment industry when it was allegedly more than that. She added she is proud to say that 90 percent of her donations came from the small donors and 60 percent came from women.
Many noticed how Clinton did not seem to have a proper answer to the question that has been repeatedly thrown at her ever since she started her campaign. Former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod was disappointed at how bad her explanation was.
Speaking fee question awkward terrain.#DemTownHall
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) February 4, 2016
The Clintons reportedly “have earned in excess of $125 million in speech income since leaving the White House in 2001.” The reports described the former Secretary of State’s speechmaking has been “a veritable tour through high finance.”
[Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]