The New York Times has published an editorial calling upon Hillary Clinton to release the transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs. It’s a good editorial and I’m glad they’ve done it, because maybe now she will finally do the right thing and release them.
This is a simple matter of transparency, which is one of those words that politicians like Hillary Clinton like to throw around, but don’t really mean. When large Wall Street financial institutions are a political issue — and they are — and one of the leading presidential candidates has given three speeches to one of those institutions for a grand total of $675,000, transparency demands that that candidate release the transcripts of what they said. It’s not a tough question, and the answer should be obvious.
Hillary Clinton’s response is that we should trust her when she says she’ll be tough on Wall Street, and that she’ll release her transcripts if every other candidate, Republican and Democrat, releases the transcripts of every speech they’ve ever given for money. That’s not exactly a leadership position, is it? And Clinton apparently doesn’t recognize that one way you build trust is through transparency. If Clinton released the transcripts and they showed nothing but her observations about international affairs, it wouldn’t undercut her attempt to convince voters that she will be a vigorous fighter against Wall Street excesses. Of course, the apparent problem is that she said something more to the Goldman Sachs people — and that something more is what voters should be entitled to see.
Hillary Clinton seems to think that she is getting unfairly singled out. I’m not aware of any other candidate who received so much money for so few speeches, or who, with their spouse, has amassed millions of dollars in personal wealth largely from giving speeches. It raises questions that are unique to Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. The fact that Hillary Clinton isn’t willing to answer those questions tells us something about her secretiveness and her character, and it’s not positive.