WASHINGTON – The University at Buffalo paid former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton $275,000 for her speech at Alumni Arena last fall, according to a copy of her speaking agency’s contract with the university, which was released today.
The nine-page contract stipulates that the “net honorarium” for the speech would go to the Clinton Foundation, which Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, founded after leaving the White House. But an unspecified sum would have gone to the Harry Walker Agency, which arranges the former secretary of state’s speaking arrangements.
No state or tuition funds were used to pay Clinton’s speaking fee, the university said in a statement. Instead, the UB Foundation paid for the speech as part of its annual Distinguished Speakers Series.
“The speaking fee and all other appearance costs are financed entirely through ticket sales, sponsorships and endowments established specifically to support the university’s Distinguished Speakers Series,” the university said in its statement.
UB released the contract with Clinton’s speaking agency as a result of Freedom of Information Law requests from media outlets, including The Buffalo News and the Buffalo-based Public Accountability Initiative. The Washington Post first revealed details of the contract on its website this morning.
The contract, which provides the most inside detail to date about Clinton’s lucrative speaking engagements, also shows that Clinton exerted a great deal of control over the details of the sold-out event at UB last Oct. 23.
“It is agreed that the Speaker’s office via the Agency shall have final approval of the introducer requested by the Sponsor,” the contract said. “If the agreed-upon itinerary for this engagement includes a moderated Q&A, it is agreed that the Speaker’s office via the Agency shall have final approval of any moderator requested.”
In addition, the contract gave the Harry Walker Agency the right to approve “sets, backdrops, banners, scenery, logos settings, etc. which are in any way related to her speech or any other activities associated with the Speaker’s appearance.”
The contract also said that Clinton had the right to ask the university to provide and pay for “a presidential glass panel teleprompter and a qualified operator,” but Clinton paced the stage during her appearance, ignoring the teleprompter.
Clinton spoke for a half-hour at the event, praising Buffalo’s renewal and bemoaning gridlock in Washington while not even once hinting that she is the runaway favorite for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.
Dennis R. Black, vice president for university life and services at UB, then spent a half-hour lobbing softball questions at Clinton, who served as a senator from New York from 2001 through 2009.
Black’s last question for Clinton was: “Perhaps you could describe for us what the ideal candidate for the president would look like.”
Clinton smiled, clapped and then delivered a highly impersonal answer.
“That is a new way of phrasing it,” said Clinton, who has said she won’t even to begin to think about a presidential run until next year. “I have to give you lot of credit.”
From there, Clinton said: “I have to say, I’m not as interested as to what the candidate looks like as what the candidate stands for – what the candidate really believes America needs to be for the future, particularly for young people.”