Brooks Jackson: Clintons won't be short on cash
Brooks Jackson reports on what's next for the Clintons.
Q: How much money is President Clinton expected to fetch per speech once he leaves office?
JACKSON: George Bush Sr.'s standard rate was reported to be $100,000 and that was eight years ago. For one of those speeches, he took stock in a company called Global Crossings that then went public and his fee turned out to be valued at $15 million for that speech at one point.
That gives you some idea of what ex-presidents can do when they put their mind to it.
Q: How big is the Clintons' legal bill?
JACKSON: As of August, the Clintons had racked up more than $10 million in legal bills since Bill Clinton has been in office. Most of those have been paid; about $4 million remained unpaid at that point.
They had hoped they would reduce the bill to nothing by the time Clinton left office. If they don't, you can be sure there will be additional fund-raisers and the Clintons will find people who will donate money to pay their bills.
With the initial Clinton legal defense fund, they only took about $1,000 per donor and that just didn't do it. They have since set up a new fund, in which they will take up to $10,000 per donor. Not surprisingly, they're doing much better.
The prospect is that private donations will take care of all these bills, and that the Clintons themselves won't be out of pocket anything.
Q: Is Mrs. Clinton's $8 million book deal expected to be OK'd under Senate rules?
JACKSON: Hillary Rodham Clinton's $8 million book deal raises the same kinds of questions that were raised about Newt Gingrich's $4.5 million book deal several years ago. In this case, it appears Senate rules are not going to be a problem for Mrs. Clinton.
The House changed its rules after Newt Gingrich decided not to take a $4 million advance. Because of all the criticism he got from Democrats and others, Gingrich decided to take royalties that were actually earned by the book. It turned out to be considerably less than $4 million.
The House later changed its rules, so that if you are a House member, you can't take an advance on a book. You can sign a book contract and you can accept royalties, but only after the book sells.
That's not the usual deal in publishing. Authors are usually paid half or a third or some portion up front as an advance against future royalties. If the book doesn't make back that amount, then it's the publishers tough luck.
The Senate rules just say a senator can take an unlimited amount of royalties as long as it's from an established publisher and only under usual and customary contractual terms. Advances are customary.
So, the experts I've talked with say Mrs. Clinton's $8 million book deal will probably be OK under Senate ethics rule.
Q: Do we have any hints as to what Mrs. Clinton's book will include?
JACKSON: I'd be very surprised if Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been fairly circumspect throughout her public life, will get less circumspect as a U.S. senator and as a person with presidential ambitions.
Q: Is there anything to these reports that Mrs. Clinton has been looking at a $4.4 million house in Georgetown?
JACKSON: She was looking at one. It's not clear whether the Clintons are looking at it to buy or rent. But it's very clear that the Clintons will be able to afford it if they want it.
Not only is there the prospect for this $8 million book deal for Mrs. Clinton, which again experts say will probably be OK'd under Senate ethics rules, but there's no limit at all on what President Clinton can do once he leaves office.