Bill Bradley, who tells audiences along the presidential campaign trail that he used the years after he left the Senate to reconnect with America, released documents last night showing that he made close to $3 million in the process.
In 1997, his first year out of office, Bradley made $29,750 for each speech to financiers, bankers, druggists, insurance companies and other groups, as a sort of preview of the campaign that many of these business people now are being asked to help finance.
The Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach, Calif., got a break, and paid just $28,000, according to a roster of 44 speeches delivered in 20 states in 10 months. Bradley also made $158,000 in 1997 as a commentator for CBS News.
Anita Dunn, Bradley's communications director, said the speeches were "not the dominant part of how he spent his time." She acknowledged that he had spoken to business groups that do not share his views on labor unions and health insurance. "Many of these people disagree with him, but he tells people what he thinks they need to hear, not what they want to hear," she said.
Lucrative speeches are standard for retired politicians and athletes, making Bradley a double draw. But the list immediately drew fire from his opponent for the Democratic nomination, Vice President Gore.
A Gore spokesman, Chris Lehane, said: "Senator Bradley said he left the Senate so he would have an opportunity to do things he couldn't do in the Senate. I guess that means raking in millions of dollars in special-interest speaking fees and Wall Street consulting money."
The tax documents released yesterday showed that Bradley and his wife, Ernestine, had $2.7 million in income in 1997, including $1.1 million from speeches and $517,000 from consulting. Earlier, Bradley disclosed that they made $2.6 million in 1998, including $1.6 million from speeches.