It's not just Wall Street banks. Most companies and groups that paid Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to speak between 2013 and 2015 have lobbied federal agencies in recent years, and more than one-third are government contractors, an Associated Press review has found. Their interests are sprawling and would follow Clinton to the White House should she win election this fall.
The AP's review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton's speeches have actively sought to sway the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.
Presidents are not generally bound by many of the ethics and conflict-of-interest regulations that apply to non-elected executive branch officials, although they are subject to laws covering related conduct, such as bribery and illegal gratuities. Clinton's 94 paid appearances over two years on the speech circuit leave her open to scrutiny over decisions she would make in the White House or influence that may affect the interests of her speech sponsors.
Rival presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican critics have mocked Clinton over her closed-door talks to banks and investment firms, saying she is too closely aligned to Wall Street to curb its abuses. Sanders said in a speech in New York that Clinton earned an average of about $225,000 for each speech and goaded her for declining to release transcripts.