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Hillary Clinton Responds to Critics Questioning High-Paying ‘Big Bank’ Speeches

On Sunday, Hillary Clinton spoke to NBC's Chuck Todd responding to criticisms about large speaking fees she has collected from Wall Street banks.

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Rachel Blevins
Rachel Blevins is a journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton defended the millions of dollars she has received in speaking fees and campaign contributions from Wall Street banks on Sunday, and asserted that they have not led to a conflict of interest.

During NBC’s “Meet the Press,” moderator Chuck Todd noted that the money Clinton has received has been used by her opponent Bernie Sanders to criticize her ties to Wall Street, and he asked, Why do you think one of these big banks paid you over $200,000 for a speech?”

Clinton insisted that she “gave speeches to a wide array of groups,” including healthcare groups and auto dealers. She said Americans wanted to hear about her expertise on the world, and that there was “a lot of interest in the bin Laden raid.”

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[pull_quote_center]Coming off of four years as secretary of State, in a complicated world, people were interested in what I saw, what I thought, they asked questions about the matters that were on their mind, a lot of interest in the bin Laden raid, how such a tough decision was made and what I advised the president. You know, I think Americans who are doing business in every aspect of the economy want to know more about the world. I actually think it’s a good conversation to be having.[/pull_quote_center]

Todd asked Clinton if she thinks the banks “expect anything in return?”

“Absolutely not,” Clinton replied. “You know, first of all, I was a senator from New York. I took them on when I was senator. I took on the carried-interest loophole. I took on what was happening in the mortgage markets. I was talking about that in 2006. They know exactly where I stand.”

On the campaign trail in Iowa, Sanders criticized Clinton for taking in over $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, saying “You got to be really, really, really good to get $250,000 for a speech.”

According to The Intercept, Clinton earned over $2.9 million off of twelve speeches to various banks between 2013 and 2015. The Intercept noted that “Clinton’s most lucrative year was 2013, right after stepping down as secretary of state. That year, she made $2.3 million for three speeches to Goldman Sachs and individual speeches to Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments, Apollo Management Holdings, UBS, Bank of America, and Golden Tree Asset Managers.”

When Sanders said that the banks “expect to get something, everybody knows that” during a Democratic presidential debate in November 2015, Clinton responded that she has “hundreds of thousands of donors— most of them small,” and she went on to talk about her involvement in New York on 9/11. 

[pull_quote_center]I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.[/pull_quote_center]

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