Huckabee's Money From Where His Mouth Is
By Matthew Mosk
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is having so much success with his public speaking on the presidential campaign trail, he figured he might as well continue to get paid for the effort.
The Politico reported last night that Huckabee has apparently decided now is not the time to put a hold on his paid speaking engagements for which his usual fee can top $25,000.
Huckabee told the online publication: "Unlike the members of the Senate or Congress who continue to get their paycheck and get a taxpayer-funded salary, and unlike people who are independently wealthy, if I don't work, I don't eat." He said he has two or three paid speeches scheduled in February and had two or three in November, and told the web site, "a couple in March are scheduled right now," but none in December or January because the campaign "has just eaten up" his time.
Being paid to speak is not an uncommon sidelight for politicians -- former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani typically commanded $100,000 for a speech, and he continued to book engagements while he was in the exploratory phase of his presidential bid.
The Post reported in February that Giuliani spoke in San Diego at a seminar also headlined by famed motivational speaker Zig Ziglar and football coach Marty Schottenheimer. His talk was titled "Courage Without Compromise." Giuliani's aides said he will not accept any more requests for paid speeches.
But Giuliani discontinued the paid speech-making before he formally entered the race.
Past speechmaking by presidential candidates has attracted the attention of election regulators. In 2003, Democrat Wesley K. Clark returned money for motivational speeches after published reports questioned whether the payments amounted to improper campaign contributions.
Clark told the Post that he believed his speech fees were legal but ultimately gave them back to avoid giving opponents an issue, and that he worries that putting such fees off limits only hurts candidates who are not wealthy or members of Congress.
And, there is another politician who is on the presidential campaign trail this year who continues to take money for speeches: Bill Clinton. The former president typically commands between $150,000 and $300,000 for a speaking appearance. In November, the Buffalo News reported that Clinton provided the keynote at the Ontario Economic Summit, and prove such a popular draw, the group had to move its convention to a larger venue 15 miles away to accommodate the 850 people "who snapped up all of the $195 tickets on short notice."
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