Small donations from private individuals collected by his political party on the Internet served to polish Obama’s image and to give him a reputation as a "man of the people," but it is not [those donations] that led him to the White House.
It is this bondage of the politicians to the power of the money — a situation that disgusts the average American more and more — that benefits the campaign of Bernie Sanders, the only candidate who denounces this situation, the only one who can boast having his hands completely free [of money’s influence], and having a fixed a limit on his donors.
Indeed, it turns out this question is Hillary Clinton's Achilles heel. She placed herself in a position of vulnerability and opened the door to allegations of conflict of interest by agreeing to make speeches generously paid for the financial institutions of Wall Street — the same [institutions] that will expect the next president to return the favor.
Since their departure from the White House, Bill Clinton and his wife have collected $125 million in fees for their private speeches in front of financial giants, without counting luxurious contributions of the business world to their family foundation, which includes donors from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
As her candidacy for the presidency became more and more possible, Hillary Clinton herself became a multimillionaire.
According to International New York Times (a newspaper of Democratic leanings), she earned $2 million in seven months through her speeches in the financial circuit. She was paid an average of $225,000 per speech, a clearly excessive amount.
We are willing to believe that her words are worth gold … but this much gold? Impossible, unless we want to win the favors of a future president who could — or not — crack down on the actions of the big banks.
[During] these last two years, Goldman Sachs — the bank at the origin of the collapse of 2008 — paid Mrs. Clinton $675,000 for three speeches.
Most recently, while she was already officially campaigning for the primaries, she received $275,000 for speaking in front of the clients of Golden Tree Asset Management.
Since 2014 alone, the Clinton couple collected $25 million in speech fees!
Yet, Mrs. Clinton cannot take shelter behind her predecessor under the pretext that he also owes his victory to contributions from large corporations. Barack Obama has never agreed to make speeches for Wall Street.
Even her own party is wary of this. “She would’ve been better off giving fewer paid speeches,” the former governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell said, quoted by The Times.
“Although they needed money, I think that Bill was raking in enough that Hillary didn’t have to do it. To people who earn $200,000 in seven years, it looks ridiculous...”
Even the Republicans opt for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. The fact is that she is the only candidate who has been personally enriched thanks to what Sanders calls “fees that resemble bribes from the financial industry.”
Mrs. Clinton defends herself by proclaiming loud and clear that she will follow in the footsteps of Obama in regulating the financial industry (this, in a spirit of “partnership” with Wall Street, she specified in a leaked speech).
This affair does not risk to derail her campaign because she has no serious rival on the Democratic side, with Sanders’ candidature being largely symbolic. But it still inconveniences her by putting her on the defensive.