As Hillary Clinton resists calls to release transcripts from her paid Goldman Sachs speeches, details of those events are emerging, and they aren’t good for the Democratic presidential candidate.
“It was pretty glowing about us,” one attendee at an Oct. 2013 Goldman Sachs event in Arizona told Politico about Clinton’s speech, which earned the former secretary of state $225,000. “It’s so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.”
“It would bury her against Sanders,” the attendee told Politico, referring to Clinton’s challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. “It really makes her look like an ally of the firm.”
Clinton has been hounded about her ties to Wall Street. From campaign donations to the $675,000 Goldman Sachs paid her to speak at three events, her apparent coziness with the financial services industry has provided an opening for Sanders, a 74-year-old democratic socialist. In waging a focused campaign against Wall Street, Sanders has increasingly insinuated that Clinton is too beholden to her donors to enact financial reform.
And though Clinton has rebutted those accusations by accusing Sanders of playing dirty politics and by claiming that she has been tough on the financial services industry, she has refused to provide some proof by releasing transcripts of her closed-door speeches. (RELATED: Hillary Grows Annoyed Over Questions About Wall Street Speech Transcripts [VIDEO])
If she did, observers would see that rather than holding Wall Street banks’ feet to the fire for what Clinton has publicly said is their role in the 2008 recession, she sought to assuage them by talking about how it wasn’t all Wall Street’s fault, according to another speech attendee.
A speech she gave in New York in 2013 was “mostly basic stuff, small talk, chit chat,” the attendee told Politico.
“But in this environment, it could be made to look really bad,” the source added.
Brian Fallon, Clinton’s campaign communications director, dismissed the sources’ claims, telling Politico that they were “pure trolling.”
But the sources’ recollections of the Clinton speeches are in line with another Politico report from Dec. 2013. Back then, the outlet reported that during a Goldman Sachs speech in Manhattan “Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish.”
“Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her to say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn’t going to improve the economy—it needs to stop.”
Pressure for Clinton to release transcripts of her speeches began in earnest last month when The Intercept’s Lee Fang asked her at a campaign event if she would release the documents. She laughed at the question. (RELATED: No Reporters Allowed At Hillary’s Wall Street Speeches)
But the story took a turn last week when MSNBC debate co-moderator Chuck Todd asked her if she would release the transcripts.
“I’ll look into it,” she said, dismissively. (RELATED: Hillary Won’t Release Wall Street Speech Transcripts Until Opponents Do Too [VIDEO])
Over the next several days she changed her position, lamenting the “double-standard” against her and calling on other candidates to release transcripts of their speeches.
Clinton does have the ability to release the transcripts if she chooses.
Her speaking contracts — which went through the Harry Walker Agency — stipulate that the speeches be transcribed and that she retain rights to them.