Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a question during a campaign rally at the Derry Boys and Girls Club in Derry, N.H., Feb. 3, 2016.
Photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters

Clinton rejects criticism over Wall Street ties, paid speeches

Hillary Clinton enthusiastically rejected concerns about her ties to Wall Street in a fiery interview on Sunday.

On ABC’s “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos asked Clinton to respond to charges that campaign contributions and paid speeches have influenced her political stances. This concern was raised earlier this week during Thursday’s MSNBC debate, in which Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders sparred over whether Clinton was too close to corporations. The Sanders campaign revived charges made by Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2004 that Clinton changed her position on a 2001 bankruptcy bill due to corporate persuasion.

Clinton said her work on the bill was an effort to advocate for women and children, whose financial circumstances could have been adversely affected by an early version of the bankruptcy legislation. She denied that money influenced her position before noting that the bill never passed.  

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“When the next bill came up, 2005, women’s issues were taken care of because I had made that a point back in 2001,” Clinton continued, referring to a later piece of legislation. “And so then, I was against that bill. I didn’t get a chance to actually vote against it because Bill was in the hospital having a heart procedure, but I put a statement out. I was against it. So I’m happy to set this record straight. And I really want to once again call out the Sanders campaign, which claims they like to run a positive campaign, but they have been quite artful in raising questions and trying to cast doubts about my record. And I really am not going to sit and take it anymore.” 

When pressed by Stephanopoulos, Clinton doubled down. “I have a public record. I have never, ever been influenced in a view or a vote by anyone who has given me any kind of funding. And so I’m just going to keep setting the record straight.”

The presidential contender maintained that she had “the greatest respect for Sen. Warren,” before the interview pivoted to the controversy over Clinton’s paid speeches. Stephanopoulos then asked her if she intended to release the transcripts of speeches she had made to financial groups.

 ”Let anybody who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances release them. We’ll all release them at the same time,” Clinton said. “You know, I don’t mind being the subject in Republican debates, the subject in the Democratic primary. That kind of goes with the territory. I’ve been around long enough. But at some point, you know, these rules need to apply to everybody, and there are a bunch of folks, including my opponent, who’s given speeches to groups, and people on the other side, who have given speeches to groups. If this is now going to be a new standard, then it should apply to everybody. And then I’ll be happy to look into it further.”

 

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Money

Clinton rejects criticism over Wall Street ties, paid speeches