February 4, 2016

Hillary Clinton, as is customary for any former Secretary of State, Senator/First Lady, commands a high speaking fee and thus she has collected large sums of money for various engagements. In last night's CNN Town Hall, Anderson Cooper went on the offensive regarding the income Hillary earned from three speeches she gave at the behest of Goldman Sachs.

COOPER: One of the things that Senator Sanders points to and a lot of your critics point to is that you made three speeches to Goldman Sachs who paid $675,000 for three speeches. Was that a mistake, was that a bad error in judgement?

CLINTON: Look, I made speeches to lots of groups, I told them what I thought. I answered questions.

COOPER: Well did you have to be paid $675,000?

CLINTON: Well, I don’t know. That’s what they offered, so um...*audible laughter Every Secretary of State that I know has done that.

It seems antithetical to a Progressive 'movement' to take money from the very same people who were instrumental in causing the financial meltdown of 2007/2008, but seriously, aren't there boatloads of less-deserving politicians who earn just as much? Hillary is a Democratic Presidential Candidate, not the leader of a 'revolution.' I fully respect a candidate like Bernie Sanders' right to address this matter and he deserves an answer. But what irks me is how this is only a question which will be asked of a Democratic candidate, exclusively. Will Anderson Cooper ask the same of Republicans?

Much to the dismay of a nation, George W. Bush was paid $100,000 to speak in front of the wounded veterans whom he sent into battle. So it seems that Hillary's fees earned by speaking to well-off Wall Street Executives are extremely innocuous by comparison.

When you consider that folks like Rudy Giuliani for quite some time, earned over $200K per speech and even Sarah Palin, word salad shooter, earned, for a time, over $100K per speech, the income earned by the Clintons isn't shocking at all. Hell, even war criminals George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice still garner between $100-$150K per speech. I think Mrs. Clinton has earned the right to collect what she is offered to make a speech. It comes with the territory.

We can dispense with some of the faux outrage, especially when these fees are often paid for by philanthropists and donated to charities, like the case where Howard Dean collected $50K at Miami University in Ohio, but the fee was paid for by the Wilks Foundation, not the students. When UNLV paid Mrs. Clinton $250K for a speech, the money went to philanthropic work done by the Clinton Foundation.

Donald Trump, who is never questioned on matters of a sensitive nature, collected over a million dollars in speaking fees from a company known to be a giant pyramid scheme, as recently as 2015, but I have yet to see a single interviewer question him on this matter. The company he collected from, ACN, is not exactly a pillar of the business community.

Trump’s presidential financial disclosure, which was released on Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission, shows that he has been paid $450,000 each for three speeches given on behalf of ACN Inc., a North Carolina-based “multi-level marketing” company. The celebrity and real estate billionaire spoke most recently at ACN’s annual convention which was held in Charlotte in February.

But while Trump has padded his pockets through his relationship with ACN, many of its sales agents and customers have not fared so well in its dealings with the company. It is likely that a majority of the tens of thousands who have attended Trump’s ACN talks will never turn a profit.

No one dares to probe into Trump's four bankruptcies without the backlash of personal insults from the man. How could they possibly question his speaking fees? I understand the question towards Hillary Clinton from Cooper, but asking it as if she committed a crime by being paid for something Republicans are often lauded for, isn't very fair. It would be a refreshing change if the both-siderist media asks the same questions of both sides, but I hardly doubt an inquiry into speaking fees will be forthcoming with GOP Candidate, Donald Trump.

When Republicans are financially successful, that is expected and praised. If a Democrat does well financially, aren't they too living the American Dream? Apparently, this is a double standard that exists in the both-sides-do-it media, get used to it.

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