Chelsea Clinton deposited $65,000 into the Clinton Foundation’s coffers for a 2014 appearance in Kansas City, The Washington Post reported.
That’s more than what most people earn in a year — for a 10-minute speech, 20 minutes of Q&A with former Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes and a 30-minute photo session.
It’s a whopping amount, especially for someone mostly famous for her lineage. That said, Clinton’s fee for the luncheon appearance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City was paid by private donors and supported a worthwhile cause not tied to politics.
She spoke at a kickoff for the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame, which honors local women who are trailblazers in their civic and professional life. The theme was passing the torch, so Clinton as the speaker made sense, given her mother’s weighty accomplishments. At $35 per ticket, it was more about raising interest than money.
The Clinton Foundation is another matter. Examination of the foundation is to be expected during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Chelsea’s parents courted that scrutiny. There was her mother’s eye-rolling claim of being broke as the family moved out of the White House. And the tidy bankroll her father has raised for the foundation, some of it from foreign governments, with his speaking fees.
It’s unfortunate that the goals of the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame got roped in as an offshoot to the political coverage.
I attended the speech, curious to observe the Clintons’ daughter as an adult and mindful of how viciously she was attacked as a teenager by critics who saw her as fair game when they really despised her parents and their politics.
Clinton exuded intelligence, on-point messaging for the foundation, but little vibrancy. That likely was partly due to the heavy managing of her appearance uncovered in the Post reporting.
She’s a legacy. There are images to maintain, roles to fill, and, yes, money to be made.
Including UMKC, the Starr hall of fame is backed by 24 local organizations with women’s leadership within their missions, including the American Business Women’s Association, Central Exchange, Greater Kansas City Chamber’s Executive Women’s Leadership Council and the Junior League of Kansas City.
All local young women can benefit from the work of those supporting groups, and they should take inspiration from the women already inducted into the hall.
That’s also legacy, one that deserves to move forward unscathed by this brush with presidential politics.