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Hillary Clinton adds more speeches in 2015, despite controversy

Hillary Rodham Clinton listens before delivering keynote remarks at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves summit on Nov. 21 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Hillary Rodham Clinton has added several speeches to her January and February schedule, indicating that the likely 2016 presidential candidate will continue her lucrative paid speaking career into the new year.

As her advisers and supporters prepare for her likely presidential campaign, Clinton is set to deliver two speeches in Canada at events sponsored by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. She also is scheduled to address the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women on Feb. 24.

The Canada appearances, scheduled for Jan. 21 in Winnipeg and Saskatoon, are part of the Global Perspective speaker's series sponsored by CIBC. Both of Clinton's speeches are slated for large venues -- the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre and the TCU Place -- and tickets are being sold.

It was not immediately clear whether Clinton is being paid for these appearances, but they are similar to her paid speeches over the past two years, for which she has earned $200,000 or more per appearance. A Clinton spokesman did not immediately respond to questions about whether Clinton is speaking for money.

Julia Ballantyne Wright, a spokeswoman for the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women, would not say whether Clinton's appearance was paid. "The Conference team does not comment on arrangements between the Conference and its speakers," Wright said in an e-mail.

Clinton's tour on the paid speaking circuit, which she began soon after stepping down as secretary of state in early 2013, has drawn considerable controversy. At least eight universities, including four public institutions, paid Clinton to visit their campuses and speak to students, faculty and other guests.

The University of California at Los Angeles paid Clinton $300,000 for a speech in March, which was funded by an endowment set up by a donor and not with tuition funds. When UCLA officials asked whether there was a reduced rate for public universities, Clinton's representatives at the Harry Walker Agency said $300,000 was the "special university rate," according to e-mails obtained last week by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In response to last week's Post story about Clinton's UCLA speech, Correct the Record, a super PAC focused on defending Clinton, issued a statement on Monday:

“Americans are givers. We are a generous nation, coming to the aid of those in need. Americans want to hear from Hillary Clinton and she is crisscrossing the country, sharing her insights and her vision, and raising money for the life-changing programs funded by the Clinton Foundation, such as Job One, which helps young people find jobs; Too Small to Fail, which helps improve the health and well-being of children; and No Ceilings, which encourages the full participation of women and girls in the 21st century. The world is a better place for this philanthropy, which reflects Hillary’s belief in doing all she can to ensure everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”

Still, Clinton's paid speaking gigs have provided easy fodder to her Republican critics. America Rising, a GOP research group leading the attack on Clinton, criticized her for the Winnipeg speech because the event sponsor, CIBC, has been connected to offshoring, as have many other banks. America Rising issued a statement Monday morning headlined, "Clinton Giving Paid Speech To Bank Connected To Illegal Offshore Accounts."