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Hillary Clinton donates speaking fees to the Clinton Foundation

Hillary Clinton’s $255,000 fee for speaking at a UNLV fundraiser will be donated -- but not to the students at the school, as some had requested.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to speak at the World Bank May 14, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waits to speak at the World Bank May 14, 2014 in Washington, D.C.

Hillary Clinton says she will donate her six-figure speaking fee for an upcoming appearance at a fundraiser at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) -- but the money won't go back to the school, as some students had requested.

All the money Clinton has received for appearances at colleges in the past 18 months has been donated to the Clinton Foundation “to continue its life-changing and life-saving work,” the former secretary of state and potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate told ABC News Friday. “So it goes from a foundation at a university to another foundation.”

Clinton, who is currently promoting her most recent book “Hard Choices,” has faced increasing scrutiny over her speaking fees, which average $200,000 for each appearance. Not all of her speaking engagements are for-profit, and, out of approximately 90 speeches, she was paid for at least two dozen.

The UNLV student government asked that Clinton donate all or part of the $255,000 fee to the students. While her fee was not being taken from the school's tuition or the university’s administration, they suggested that the action would support her advocacy for students in higher education. In early June, the university announced a four-year plan to increase tuition by 17%. The UNLV petition asking Clinton to donate the money to the students has been signed by 84 people.

Clinton has made no indication that she plans on giving the money to UNLV students. Instead, in her ABC News interview, she focused on how her speeches present new ideas that can help combat income inequality and strengthen the economy.

The former first lady sparked more criticism over her finances after she told ABC News last month that she and President Bill Clinton were “dead broke,” in debt, and not “truly well-off” when they left the White House. She is not the only wealthy politician or aspiring office-holder to make a wealth-related gaffe, of course. Clinton later described the comments as “inartful.” 

Republicans characterized the comments as indicative of Clinton being out of touch. If Clinton were to run for president in 2016, she would be the wealthiest candidate, barring Donald Trump, should he decide to jump in the race. Several of her possible competitors would also likely face questions about their income.

And despite the recent criticism over her income and comments on wealth, when compared to other potential 2016 presidential hopefuls, Clinton is still considered by a majority of Americans as being able to relate to everyday citizens. According to a recent survey, 55% said they believed Clinton could relate to the problems faced by average Americans.