National Politics

USC says it’s not paying Bill Clinton to speak on campus

Former President Bill Clinton talks education in Rocky Mount

Bill Clinton talks about education, his working relationship with former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, college tuition and student loan interest rates on Tuesday, October 25, 2015 in Rocky Mount, N.C.
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Bill Clinton talks about education, his working relationship with former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, college tuition and student loan interest rates on Tuesday, October 25, 2015 in Rocky Mount, N.C.

The University of South Carolina said Thursday it is not paying former President Bill Clinton to speak at a closed-door event on campus.

The Aug. 6 event, where former S.C. Gov. Richard “Dick” Riley will donate his personal artifacts to the university’s library system, will be held at the Alumni Center. It is by invitation only and not open to the public.

“Bill Clinton is speaking at no cost to the university, and his attendance and participation are at the invitation of Richard Riley,” USC spokeswoman Peggy Binette said in an email.

A news release announcing the event describes Clinton as a “close friend” of Riley’s. The former S.C. governor served as Clinton’s S.C. campaign chair and his Secretary of Education, the release said.

Asked whether USC’s charitable foundations — which can spend money with less oversight than the university itself — or any other USC entity paid Clinton, Binette said they did not.

Since 2001, Bill and Hillary Clinton have raked in $153 million in speaking fees, according to CNN. On average, the Clintons charged more than $200,000 per speech, but charged considerably more when speaking to big banks such as Goldman Sachs and UBS, the CNN report said.

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