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Clintons Earned $109 Million in 8 Years
The former president's speaking career also gave supporters opportunities to boost the couple's bottom line. Even as Sen. Clinton campaigned for office, her husband earned more than $10 million for his speeches. But the tax returns do not reveal who hired him to speak.
Sen. Clinton's financial disclosure forms have offered a glimpse into her husband's speaking career and the nexus between his clients and her campaign donors. The New York investment giant Goldman Sachs paid him $650,000 for four speeches in recent years. Its employees and its political action committee have donated more than $440,000 to the senator's presidential campaign, putting the firm second on the list of her most generous political patrons, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In 2005, Bill Clinton averaged almost a speech a day -- 352 for the year -- though only about 20 percent were for personal income. On one day in Canada, he made $475,000 for two speeches, more than double his annual salary as president.
The banking firm Citigroup, whose employees and PAC rank third among Hillary Clinton's campaign donors, with more than $388,000, paid her husband $250,000 for a speech in France in 2004. In 2006, the firm committed $5.5 million to the Clinton Global Initiative, which encourages entrepreneurship and financial education among the poor.
While the tax returns offer the most illuminating look to date at the Clintons' finances, the picture is incomplete. They sought an extension for their 2007 return and disclosed a breakdown compiled by their tax attorney.
In 2006, tax returns detail $2.65 million in income from Bill Clinton's partnership with Burkle. But Sen. Clinton's campaign did not release a separate filing known as Schedule K-1, which could reveal more income after write-offs, said Dean Zerbe, national managing director of Alliant Group tax consultants.
The Clintons' 2006 tax return shows that, through a blind trust, the couple acquired an interest of an undisclosed size in a private investment fund known as the Quellos Alpha Engine, based in the Cayman Islands. At the time, the fund was controlled by the Quellos Group of Seattle, one of the world's largest managers of mutual funds made up of hedge funds. Hollywood mogul Haim Saban is one of the biggest investors in Quellos and is also one of Hillary Clinton's most prolific fundraisers.
A 2006 investigation into abusive tax shelters by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations reported that Quellos used offshore shell companies to engage in fake transactions that generated billions of dollars in capital losses on paper. One series of transactions, the report said, erased more than $2 billion in capital gains that would have been taxed, costing the U.S. Treasury hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
A Quellos official was quoted at the time as saying that lawyers had approved the transactions and that the Senate findings were unfair. There is no indication that the Clintons benefited from the transactions criticized in the report. In October, BlackRock acquired the Quellos Group. The Clintons have sold off all of the investments from their blind trust.
Should Sen. Clinton reach the White House, her husband's ability to continue to tap many of these income sources will be severely limited. From a legal standpoint, accepting money from any company that is regulated by the federal government could create problems, said Robert K. Kelner, an ethics specialist with the D.C. law firm Covington & Burling.
The tangle of relationships would make it "very complicated," he said. "I would say it's largely a question of appearances, public relations and politics, and less a matter of Hillary Clinton actually suffering any legal liability because of his action."
Research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.