NYT's Maureen Dowd: “There's Something Unseemly” About Chelsea Clinton Charity Speeches

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd posited that there is “something unseemly” about recent reports Chelsea Clinton gives speeches that raise up to $75,000 per appearance for the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

A July 9 article in The Times discussed Clinton's foray into public speaking appearances on behalf of the Clinton Foundation. The Times quoted a Clinton spokesperson who explained that “100 percent of the fees” Clinton receives are “remitted directly to the foundation,” and that “the majority of Chelsea's speeches are unpaid.” According to The Times, “Ms. Clinton's speeches focus on causes like eradicating waterborne diseases.” (The Clinton Foundation's website says its mission is “to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote health and wellness, and protect the environment.”)

In a July 13 column, Dowd took issue with Clinton's speaking arrangements, writing that the former first daughter is “acting out in a sense now, joining her parents in cashing in to help feed the rapacious, gaping maw of Clinton Inc.” Dowd also suggested that Clinton's speaking fee means she has “open[ed] herself up to criticism that she is gobbling whopping paychecks not commensurate with her skills, experience or role in life.”

“There's something unseemly about it,” Dowd continued, “making one wonder: Why on earth is she worth that much money? Why, given her dabbling in management consulting, hedge-funding and coattail-riding, is an hour of her time valued at an amount that most Americans her age don't make in a year?”

Dowd also criticized a series of speeches Hillary Clinton is delivering at colleges and universities, writing, “Hillary doesn't see the disconnect between expressing grave concern about mounting student loan debt while scarfing six-figure sums from at least eight colleges, and counting. She says now that she's passing the university money to the foundation but, never Ms. Transparency, has refused to provide documentation of that.”

Even after paying Clinton's fee, which she has noted goes to the Clinton Foundation, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Foundation expects to profit from an upcoming Hillary Clinton speech. Dowd failed to mention that point, or the fact that the evidence-free claim that Clinton has not been truthful about the donation of the fees comes from America Rising PAC, a Republican-aligned opposition research outfit.

Dowd's criticisms of Chelsea and Hillary Clinton over speaking fees that are donated to a charitable foundation are largely in line with Dowd's take on Hillary Clinton over the years.

According to a June 18 Media Matters report, 72 percent of 195 columns authored by Dowd about Hillary Clinton since November 1993 had a negative bent. Among the repetitious tropes used by Dowd, she often accused Clinton of being an enemy to or betraying feminism (35 columns, 18 percent of those studied), power-hungry (51 columns, 26 percent), unlikeable (9 columns, 5 percent), or phony (34 columns, 17 percent).