Politics

Was Part Of Hillary Clinton's Book Tour Funded By Taxpayer Money?

| by Jared Keever

Hillary Clinton spent over $55,000 of taxpayer money on hotel rooms and travel expenses during the European portion of her book tour, federal procurement documents show.

The former first lady and senator who left her post as Secretary of State in 2013 toured Europe early in July promoting her new book “Hard Choices.” 

The Daily Mail reports that documents from the U.S. State Department and the Department of Homeland Security show those departments spent lavishly on lodging and transportation for Clinton’s tour.

Among the costs were $11,291 for rental cars for Secret Service agents in Paris. Other documents show taxpayers picked up the tab for $5,100 worth of luxury Mercedes-Benz limousine vans for a single day in Berlin.

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Expense records also show Clinton passed on to taxpayers the cost of a $3,668 room for a single-night stay in the Four Seasons George V hotel in Paris. 

The tour members reportedly spent $35,183 on lodging in Berlin.

Tim Miller, executive director of the America Rising PAC, said it seemed odd that Clinton would ask taxpayers to foot the bill for her book tour given that she reportedly brings in over $200,000 for a single speaking engagement.

“Hillary's book tour through Europe was a fiscal double whammy – lining her pockets with outrageous speaking fees and billing the taxpayers for thousands in travel,” he said.

The bills for the rental vans in Berlin were routed through the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, or OIG. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said that seemed odd since that office typically has control over investigations not security details and bodyguards. 

“I don't understand that,” Donovan said, adding that the State Department billings didn’t seem out of line.

“On a foreign trip like that, State Department sometimes pays the original bill and Secret Service might reimburse it later,” he said.

But billing something through the Inspector General’s office was something Donovan said he hadn’t seen before.

“I don't understand that OIG thing at all,” he added.

As a former first lady, Clinton is entitled to Secret Service protection. That would mean that most of the spending was legitimate.

But nights in luxury hotels won't do much to quell the rumblings that Clinton might be out of touch with the American people.

Those questions started circulating the same time Clinton’s book tour began, according to The Wire. In a June 9 interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Clinton said she and her family were “dead broke” when they left the White House.

The questions continued as Bloomberg reported later in June that Clinton was still touring the country portraying herself as an average American. 

“They don’t see me as part of the problem,” Clinton is quoted as saying. “Because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.”

But critics point out that financial documents released by Clinton in 2008 show she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, made $109 million over an eight-year period. 

Earnings like that coupled with talk of “hard work” make Clinton seem tone-deaf when speaking about her own wealth as the nation’s economy still struggles, her critics say.

A State Department press officer told the Daily Mail that the department would investigate whether it had paid for any of Clinton’s personal expenses for non-government trips.

Sources: Daily Mail, The Wire, Bloomberg

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons