What you said privately to bankers would interest voters.
Hillary Clinton credit for chutzpah. Clinton is demanding that Donald Trump disclose his tax returns, even as she refuses to release the transcripts of her highly paid speeches to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street bankers.
Clinton has it half-right. Trump, the presumed Republican nominee for president, should release income returns, just as Clinton did months ago in her campaign for the Democratic nomination, because transparency ought to be the norm for anyone seeking the highest office in the land.
In Clinton's case, full disclosure should include letting the public know what she said to the bankers — especially because she has repeatedly promised to “rein in Wall Street” if she is elected president.
From the time Clinton left her post as secretary of State in 2013 to when she declared her candidacy last year, Clinton raked in $21.7 million for 92 speeches. Goldman paid her $225,000 a pop on three occasions. Nice work if you can get it.
Three of the firms she spoke to — Goldman,
JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America— ended up settling with the federal government for $5.1 billion, $13 billion and $16.6 billion, respectively, for their roles in the financial crisis.
During his tough primary challenge to Clinton,
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist from Vermont, has pressed her repeatedly to release the transcripts of the private engagements. So have reporters. Clinton has responded with evasions, lately some variation on: “Let everybody who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances release” their transcripts.
Of course, that misses the point. Unlike “everybody,” Clinton is running for president on a platform that includes being tough on banks.
What did she tell the bankers in those speeches? Bits of her comments have leaked from attendees, who told The Wall Street Journal that she didn’t say much about the financial crisis, but that when she did, her tone was amicable, even sympathetic about the banking industry. Now that might be interesting to millions of people who lost homes or jobs in the Great Recession.
At a campaign stop last week in
Blackwood, N.J., Clinton said the release of tax returns is “kind of expected” of presidential nominees. So is coming clean about closed-door comments to bankers who helped bring the U.S. economy to its knees.