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Raining Money

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A $450,000 fee paid to former Pres. Bill Clinton by British socialite Renu Mehta's Fortune Forum charity for a speech at a charity dinner in London on Sept 26, 2006 is raising eyebrows.

The event raised $1.5 million for global warming and disaster relief causes, but almost a third of the money was spent on the speaker, making it among the highest fees Clinton has commanded for a public speech. In fact, the same day Clinton charged his normal fee of $280,000 at for profit events.

The Mehtas told the Chicago Tribune, which broke the story, that they had engaged Clinton through a mutual friend, hotelier Sant Chatwal, a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Critics charge that such payments allow politicians to get around campaign contribution limits. Hillary Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million as her fundraising lagged behind Sen Barack Obama's. 

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Odds & Ends | Magazine | May 2008

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