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Donald Trump’s speaking fee: Half what Hillary Clinton commands

Rick Newman
Senior Columnist

Donald Trump likes to measure things and gauge how he sizes up, which usually gives him plenty to brag about when the topic is money.

But Hillary Clinton handily outdoes him on one measure of stature: The amount people are willing to pay to hear her speak.

Clinton’s standard rate for giving a speech is $225,000, with one group, the Jewish United Fund, paying her $400,000 for an appearance in 2013. Yahoo Finance tallied all of her speeches from 2013 to 2015 and found her speaking fees averaged $234,484.

Trump’s average fee for four speeches delivered in 2015 – before he declared his candidacy for president – average $200,000, according to a financial disclosure form just released by the Federal Election Commission. But one of those was a $450,000 fee paid by a company called ACN Inc., which has had various business deals with Trump over the years and may have been paying for more than one speech. Excluding that outlier, Trump’s average speaking fee is a mere $117,000, or half of Clinton’s average fee.

Neither candidate has given paid speeches during the campaign, which means those numbers reflect what Trump and Clinton were worth before the added fame (or notoriety) bestowed through the election. And money earned from speeches represents less than 0.02% of Trump's total income, whereas it's the vast majority of Clinton’s.

Trump earned between $1 million and $5 million in royalties on the book he put out last November, undoubtedly because of the catchy title: “Crippled America.” Clinton reported more than $5 million in royalties on her own book, “Hard Choices,” but that’s been out since mid-2014. And Trump earned hundreds of thousands more (the disclosed figures aren’t precise) on two other books, “Time to Get Tough (from 2011) and “The Art of the Deal” (1987).

Those figures are puny compared with the $557 million in income Trump says he earned during the 18-month period covered by the disclosure form. Most of that income comes from rent paid on Trump’s real-estate holdings, royalties paid for use of the Trump name, fees earned for managing properties, and revenue generated by golf courses. Trump also earns millions per year in investment income.

Trump’s wife, Melania, has a beauty company, which generated less than $50,000 in income, according to the disclosures. Hillary Clinton’s spouse, Bill Clinton, is more prolific, pulling in more than $5 million – nearly all of it from paid speeches. If Trump is keeping score, he’ll probably aim to beat the Clinton tally before long.

Rick Newman’s latest book is Liberty for All: A Manifesto for Reclaiming Financial and Political Freedom. Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman.