Hillary Clinton’s speech Monday to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Foundation will be open to press coverage, UNLV said Wednesday, as the former secretary of state ramps up her public appearances ahead of a likely presidential run in 2016.
Clinton is getting paid $225,000 for the speech, a fee that prompted UNLV student leaders to request that she donate some or all of the money to the university. Instead, the money will go to the Bill, Hillary &Chelsea Clinton Foundation, which supports programs on global health, climate change and opportunities for women and girls.
The six-figure fee was also challenged by critics who questioned whether Clinton has lost touch with the middle class. It didn’t help that she made a few verbal gaffes during her recent book tour. She said she paid taxes, unlike some who are “truly well off.” She also noted that she and former President Bill Clinton were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001. Since, the Clintons have earned more than $100 million, mostly from speaking fees in the United States and abroad.
Clinton’s speaking contract with the UNLV Foundation had called for the fundraising event to be closed to the media. But she apparently had a change of heart in light of growing public interest in what she has to say.
About 1,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Bellagio on the Strip. The UNLV Foundation quickly sold out its top tables, including those selling for for $20,000, raising more than $350,000.
University officials said the dinner is expected to make a profit for only the third time in its history, which they attribute to Clinton’s popularity. Over the years, the Foundation has raised more than $1 billion to support UNLV.
Top donors will get a chance to take a photo with Clinton and go home with her new book, “Hard Choices,” about her four years as President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state. Clinton lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama in 2008, but went on to help him get elected by urging her supporters to back him.
The two-hour dinner is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Clinton plans to deliver a keynote address and participate in a moderated discussion, according to UNLV.
The dinner also will honor the late Kitty Rodman, a longtime UNLV supporter. Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson also will be honored for his support of the university. Adelson also is one of the biggest GOP donors and is likely to contribute millions of dollars to Republican presidential candidates who would face Clinton if she runs.
Before the UNLV dinner, Clinton is scheduled to headline a reception and fundraiser dinner for the Nevada Democratic Party and for the 2016 re-election fund of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
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