Students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, say Hillary Clinton should not accept a $225,000 speaking fee for addressing the UNLV Foundation amid continuing controversy over her statements that she and former U.S. President Bill Clinton were broke when they left the White House.
In a two-page letter to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation in New York, Elias Benjelloun, president of the UNLV student body, and Daniel Waqar, public-relations director for the UNLV student government, urged the former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential contender not to accept the fee for the scheduled Oct. 13 speaking engagement, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“In keeping with Secretary Clinton’s long-standing history of advocating for students in higher education, we as student government leaders are asking that she charitably donate part or all of the $225,000 speaking fee she is reportedly making for this fundraising speech back to the UNLV Foundation as a whole,” the students said in their letter.
The speaking fee is being paid by private donations, but the students said in their letter that regardless of the source of the money, Clinton should “do what is right: Donate the money back to the UNLV Foundation and have it enrich thousands of students and faculty members on campus.”
Clinton planned to donate the fee to the Clinton Foundation, the Wall Street Journal reported.
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The Republican National Committee took Clinton to task, saying the speaking fee is four times more than the average Nevadan’s annual salary. “With tuition rates set to spike by 17 percent at UNLV, it’s sad that Hillary Clinton thinks she’s so broke that it’s necessary to slap them with a $225,000 speaking fee,” RNC representative Jahan Wilcox said.
The Washington Post reported the Clintons’ financial situation rapidly improved after they left the White House with the ex-president making $13 million in speaking fees in 2001 and the former first lady receiving a $2.5 million advance for her book, “Living History.”
By 2004, the Post reported, the couple had erased an estimated $10 million in debt, mostly associated with legal fees stemming from the multiple congressional and criminal investigations that plagued the Clinton presidency. By 2006, the Post said, the Clintons were likely worth between $16 million and $52 million.