Struggling Banks Paid President Clinton $2.1 million for ‘Speeches’

By Matthew Hadro | November 24, 2008 | 8:00 PM EST

President Bill Clinton speaks at his Global Initiative

( - Four major banks, including one that collapsed, two that received federal bailout money and one that filed for bankruptcy this past September, paid former President Clinton $2.1 million for 13 speeches he delivered on their behalf between 2004-2007, according to Senate financial disclosure statements filed by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Citigroup paid Bill Clinton $700,000; Goldman Sachs paid $950,000; Lehman Brothers paid $300,000 and Merrill Lynch paid $175,000 to the former president for speeches during that time period. Sen. Clinton’s 2008 financial disclosure reports are not yet available.

Though some of the investment banks were able to entertain the former president more than once, each was eventually affected by the credit crunch.
Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. The bank’s stock had been slipping as it looked for a buyer, while the federal government promised no aid. 

Merrill Lynch was purchased by Bank of America in mid-September for $50 billion. The bank’s share price and liquidity had been falling as it looked to sell, just days before the federal bailout of Wall Street. 

The highly-regarded investment firm Goldman Sachs had reportedly possessed some of the largest private equity and hedge funds in the market. 

But after its largest trading partner, AIG, received an $85 billion emergency government loan, Goldman Sachs shares fell. One week after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and Bank of America purchased Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs asked the Federal Reserve to modify its status to that of bank holding company – a move that brought tough regulations and close government supervision. In addition, Goldman Sachs became a recipient of $10 billion of the federal bailout money. 

Citigroup recently received $25 billion of the federal bailout and is now expected to receive a $20 billion cash injection from the Treasury Department. In addition, the Treasury and the FDIC have promised to back most of the losses the bank might suffer, from its $306 billion pool of risky loans and mortgages. The bank’s shares dropped 60 percent last week.