Hillary Clinton rejected a plea from a questioner in a town hall event Thursday night in Nevada who begged her to release transcripts from her Wall Street speeches, saying that she will only release the documents if other presidential candidates do the same.
Clinton had previously said that she would “look into” releasing transcripts from the the speeches, for which she earned $225,000 on average. She’s also suggested that other candidates should release their transcripts too. But Clinton’s comments on Thursday are the first time she’s said that releasing the documents is strictly contingent on other candidates following suit.
“Why are you hesitant to release transcripts or audio/video recordings of those meetings in order to be transparent with the American people regarding the promises and assurances that you have made to the big banks?” an audience member asked Clinton.
“Let me say this, I am happy to release anything I have when everybody else does the same because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups, including Senator [Bernie] Sanders,” she responded.
The Democratic front-runner then argued that she has done more to battle Wall Street than other candidates, including Sanders.
“I take a backseat to nobody in being very clear about what I will do to make sure Wall Street never crashes Main Street again and that you can count on,” she said.
Clinton’s critics, including Sanders, have cast doubt on those claims, however. They point to the $153 million that Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have earned for paid speeches since 2001, far more than any other presidential candidate. Wall Street banks have paid Clinton nearly $3 million for speeches. Goldman Sachs, a major investment bank, paid Clinton $675,000 for three speeches. While the full text of those events has not been released, some attendees have told reporters that Clinton struck a friendlier tone towards Wall Street in the closed-door sessions than she does on the campaign trail.The questioner in Thursday’s town hall followed up on his inquiry, suggesting that he did not trust Clinton’s claims about her Wall Street speeches given that she has flip-flopped on the issue of gay marriage.
“Only a decade ago I was a very big supporter of yourself and your husband,” the man began. “It actually broke my heart when you said marriage was between a man and a woman. How can we trust that this isn’t just more political rhetoric? Please just release those transcripts so that we know exactly where you stand.”
“You know where I stand because I’ve been in public standing here the whole time,” Clinton said, adding that she is “glad” that she has evolved on the issue.