Throughout the Democratic primaries, Sen. Bernie Sanders repeatedly asked Hillary Clinton to release transcripts of her paid speeches before groups such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and other big players in the financial services industry. Clinton refused, and now, with the release of hacked emails belonging to Clinton campaign chairman, John Podesta, her reasons for withholding her speeches make sense.
Clinton paid $225,000 per speech
In her speeches, for which Clinton was paid up to $225,000 per appearance, Mrs. Clinton did not present herself as a progressive liberal who would be fighting to rein in excesses in the financial industry. In excerpts from her speeches Hillary is notably less harsh on the industry that she has widely criticized during the campaign.
I kind of think if you’re going to be paid $225,000 for a speech, it must be a fantastic speech, a brilliant speech which you would want to share with the American people. — Sen. Bernie Sanders
Bias against successful people
During a speech at the Goldman Sachs Innovators Summit, Clinton said,“There is such a bias against people who have led successful and/or complicated lives. You know, the divestment of assets, the stripping of all kinds of positions, the sale of stocks. It just becomes very onerous and unnecessary.”
In a 2013 paid speech before the National Multi-Housing Council, Mrs. Clinton talked about the need to keep political positions secret.
Need a public and a private position
I mean, politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position. — Hillary Clinton
The Clinton campaign declined to comment on whether the emails were authentic. However, it probably was not a coincidence that the same day the emails were released the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that the Russians were behind an earlier hack of emails that was embarrassing to the Democratic National Committee.
The Russians behind DNC leak
We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities. — Joint Statement by Department of Homeland Security and Office of National Intelligence
While some of Clinton’s comments in her speeches might have caused her trouble during the primary against Bernie Sanders, it’s less clear if they will cause her problems in the campaign against Mr. Trump. The release of the hacked emails occurred on the same day that a tape surfaced of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women ten years ago.
Both subjects are likely to come up during Sunday’s debate, and it will be interesting to see how each candidate responds. There’s still a month to go in the campaign and no doubt there will be more surprises to come.