Hillary Clinton continued to resist calls to release the transcripts of paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other banks, saying she would hold onto them until Bernie Sanders and other competitors for the U.S. presidency released theirs. Sanders, her populist rival for the Democratic presidential nomination who has surged in polls with his furious rebukes of Wall Street and its role in the 2008 financial crisis, said Friday he had none to release because he does not give paid speeches to banks.
The former U.S. secretary of state’s reluctance to reveal what she privately told banks and other organizations has become an increasingly heated issue ahead of the general election this November as she fights suggestions by the U.S. senator from Vermont and others in the Democratic Party’s more liberal wing that she is too cozy with the U.S. financial industry.
“I am happy to release anything I have whenever everybody else does the same, because everybody in this race, including Senator Sanders, has given speeches to private groups,” she said Thursday night in a televised town hall event with voters in Nevada, which will be the third state to vote for the Democratic Party’s nominee in caucuses to be held Saturday.
Clinton has earned more than $20 million for 92 paid speeches since leaving her job as secretary of state in 2013, according to records disclosed by her campaign. The amount includes $675,000 for three closed-door speeches to New York-based investment bank Goldman Sachs. Her husband, Bill Clinton, has earned even more since he stepped down as president in 2001. She says this income has no influence on her policies and that she would increase Wall Street regulation.
Sanders last gave a paid speech in 2004, according to his Senate financial disclosures, when he spoke about social activism at the California Institute of Technology in an event that was open to the public. He earned $2,000, according to his disclosures.
Friday, a Sanders representative said the senator “accepts Clinton’s challenge.” Michael Briggs said in a statement: “He will release all of the transcripts of all of his Wall Street speeches. That’s easy. The fact is, there weren’t any.”
Briggs said he hoped this was sufficient for Clinton to release her transcripts. Clinton’s standard speaker’s contract stipulated that the speech’s host make a transcript that would then remain in Clinton’s control.
Representatives of Clinton and Goldman Sachs did not respond to questions.
It remained unclear whether Clinton’s Republican rivals would meet her demands.