Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street Speeches
By Marjorie Cohn
- Hillary Clinton refuses to make public the
transcripts of her speeches to big banks, three of
which were worth a total of $675,000 to Goldman
Sachs. She says she would release the transcripts
“if everybody does it, and that includes
Republicans.” After all, she complained, “Why is
there one standard for me, and not for everybody
As the New
York Times editorial board
pointed out, “The only different standard here
is the one Mrs. Clinton set for herself, by
personally earning $11 million in 2014 and the first
quarter of 2015 for 51 speeches to banks and other
groups and industries.”
not running in the primaries against Republicans,
who, the Times noted, “make no bones about their
commitment to Wall Street deregulation and tax cuts
for the wealthiest Americans.”
running against Bernie Sanders, “a decades-long
critic of Wall Street excess who is hardly a hot
ticket on the industry speaking circuit,” according
to the Times.
voters need to know what Hillary told the banks?
Because it was Wall Street that was responsible for
the 2008 recession, making life worse for most
Americans. We need to know what, if anything, she
promised these behemoths.
Your Back, You Scratch Mine
several super PACs, which have recently donated $25
million to her campaign, $15 million of which came
from Wall Street.
and large contributors don’t give their money away
for nothing. They expect that their interests will
be well served by those to whom they donate.
recently attended an expensive fundraiser at
Franklin Square Capital, a hedge fund that gives big
bucks to the fracking industry. Two weeks later,
Hillary’s campaign announced her continuing support
for the production of natural gas, which comes from
opposes fracking. He
said, “Just as I believe you can’t take on Wall
Street while taking their money, I don’t believe you
can take on climate change effectively while taking
money from those who would profit off the
destruction of the planet.”
no super PACs. His campaign has received 4 million
individual contributions, that average $27 each.
Perhaps Rupert Murdoch multiplied that amount by
$100 in setting $2700 a head as the entrance fee for
Hillary’s latest campaign gala?
has called for a “political revolution” that
“takes on the fossil fuel billionaires, accelerates
our transition to clean energy, and finally puts
people before the profits of polluters.” He would
retrain workers in the fossil fuel industries for
clean energy jobs.
reminds us that the top one-tenth of 1% owns nearly
as much wealth as the bottom 90%, and 99% of all new
income goes to the top 1%. Unlike Hillary, he says
healthcare is a right – not a privilege – and
college and university tuition should be free.
Congressman John Conyers introduced legislation to
allocate $5.5 billion to states and communities to
create employment programs for African-American
youth. They say, “instead of putting military style
equipment into police departments . . . we [should]
start investing in jobs for the young people there
who desperately need them.”
How will we
pay for all that? “If we cut military spending and
corporate welfare, we would have more than enough
money to meet America’s needs,” Bernie wrote in his
1997 book, Outsider in the House. “This
nation currently spends $260 billion a year on
defense, even though the Cold War is over,” not
counting “$30 billion spent annually on intelligence
or the $20 billion in defense-related expenditures
hidden away in our federal spending on energy,” he
added. Today, with all the wars our government is
prosecuting, that figure is
nearly $600 billion.
Sanders, we have a unique opportunity to reverse
long-standing priorities that favor the few at the
expense of the many. Let us seize the time.
Cohn has been a professor at Thomas Jefferson School
of Law since 1991. In summer 2016, she will become
Professor Emeritus, and will continue to lecture,
write, and provide media commentary.