Chelsea Clinton’s $65,000 Speech

From the Washington Post:

When the University of Missouri at Kansas City was looking for a celebrity speaker to headline its gala luncheon marking the opening of a women’s hall of fame, one name came to mind: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But when the former secretary of state’s representatives quoted a fee of $275,000, officials at the public university balked. “Yikes!” one e-mailed another.

So the school turned to the next best option: her daughter, Chelsea.

The university paid $65,000 for Chelsea Clinton’s brief appearance Feb. 24, 2014, a demonstration of the celebrity appeal and marketability that the former and possibly second-time first daughter employs on behalf of her mother’s presidential campaign and family’s global charitable empire.

More than 500 pages of e-mails, contracts and other internal documents obtained by The Washington Post from the university under Missouri public record laws detail the school’s long courtship of the Clintons.
Chelsea Clinton, second from left, appears with her parents and husband, Marc Mezvinsky, at mother Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign kick-off rally June 13 in New York City. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

They also show the meticulous efforts by Chelsea Clinton’s image-makers to exert tight control over the visit, ranging from close editing of marketing materials and the introductory remarks of a high school student to limits on the amount of time she spent on campus.

The schedule she negotiated called for her to speak for 10 minutes, participate in a 20-minute, moderated question-and-answer session and spend a half-hour posing for pictures with VIPs offstage.

As with Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches at universities, Chelsea Clinton made no personal income from the appearance, her spokesman said, and directed her fee to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Chelsea Clinton, who at the time was just shy of her 34th birthday, commanded a higher fee than other prominent women speakers the university considered booking when Hillary Clinton proved too expensive, including feminist icon Gloria Steinem ($30,000) and journalists Cokie Roberts ($40,000), Tina Brown ($50,000) and Lesley Stahl ($50,000), the records show.

Officials with the school appeared to believe Clinton was worth her fee, which university spokesman John Martellaro said was paid using private donations. Chelsea Clinton has become an increasingly public figure in her own right.

In dozens of e-mails exchanged between University of Missouri officials and Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency, which arranges appearances by all three Clintons, there was no reference to her $65,000 fee going to charity. Nor was there any reference in the five-page contract.

The university paid the fee — which also covered Clinton’s travel expenses — in two disbursements to the Walker Agency. But Martellaro said, “We have no knowledge of how funds were disbursed from that point.”

Is this a great country or what? 65 big ones for a 10 minute speech. Who cares what Chelsea Clinton thinks about anything?

P.T. Barnum was right–there is a sucker born every minute–and a whole bunch of them are living in Missouri.

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