$225K Speechmaker Hillary Clinton: 'Get Unaccountable Money Out of Politics'

By Susan Jones | June 28, 2016 | 6:57am EDT
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V.t, right, and Hillary Clinton react as they speak during the CNN Democratic Presidential Primary Debate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Thursday, April 14, 2016, New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(CNSNews.com) - "Let's overturn Citizens United and get unaccountable money out of politics," Democrat Hillary Clinton told a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday. "Let's shut off the revolving door in Washington, and make sure the foxes aren't guarding the hen house."

Clinton, a former U.S. senator and secretary of state, has been sharply criticized by her rival Bernie Sanders for accepting big money from Wall Street after leaving her job as Secretary of State -- the so-called revolving door.

"Secretary Clinton has given a number of speeches to Wall Street financial institutions for $225,000 a speech. Now, $225,000, that is a lot of money, and I kind of figure that if you give a speech for that kind of money it must be a brilliant, earth-shattering speech," Sanders said last month on the campaign trail in Kentucky.

"It must be a speech that will solve all of our global problems. It must be a speech that is written in Shakespearean prose, and therefore I think a speech that extraordinary should be shared with all of the people."

Clinton has refused to release transcripts of the three speeches she delivered at Goldman Sachs for a reported total of $675,000.

At the Democrat debate on April 15, Clinton insisted she is not beholden to Wall Street: "I stood up against the behaviors of the banks when I was a senator. I called them out on their mortgage behavior. I also was very willing to speak out against some of the special privileges they had under the tax code." She also said she supported the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law.

Debate moderator Dana Bash of CNN asked Clinton at that same Democrat debate, "[I]f there's nothing in those speeches that you think would change voters' minds, why not just release the transcripts and put this whole issue to bed?"

Clinton responded: "You know, first of all -- first of all, there isn't an issue. When I was in public service, serving as the senator from New York, I did stand up to the banks. I did make it clear that their behavior would not be excused.

Then she changed the subject.

Bash tried to get Clinton back on track, reminding her, "the question was about the transcripts of the speeches to Goldman Sachs. Why not release them?"

"I have said, look, there are certain -- there are certain expectations when you run for president," Clinton said. "This is a new one. And I've said, if everybody agrees to do it -- because there are speeches for money on the other side. I know that."

She then changed the subject to Bernie Sanders' tax returns.

Bash tried a third time: "Secretary Clinton, we're going to get to the tax returns later, but just to put a button on this, you're running now for the Democratic nomination. And it is your Democratic opponent and many Democratic voters who want to see those transcripts. It's not about the Republicans..."

"You know, let's set the same standard for everybody. When everybody does it, OK, I will do it," Clinton said, "but let's set and expect the same standard on tax returns. Everybody does it, and then we move forward."

Sanders, responding, said he has no speech transcripts to release, because he gave no speeches to Wall Street firms --"not for $225,000, not for $2,000, not for two cents. There were no speeches," he said.

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