Senator and campaign surrogate says Clinton ‘cares deeply about openness and transparency’
By Andrea Germanos / 04.15.2016
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said Friday that she believes Hillary Clinton will release the transcripts of her paid speeches to Wall Street firms “at the appropriate time.”
As it did during Thursday evening’s presidential debate, the content of the speeches Clinton has given—including three to Goldman Sachs totaling $675,000—has come under scrutiny during the campaign, with rival Bernie Sanders pointing to them to say she’s too closely aligned with the big banks to be able to enact true Wall Street reform. Clinton, for her part, once laughed after being asked if she’d release the transcripts, and has defended the amount, saying, “That’s what [Goldman Sachs] offered,” and said she’d release them if her Republican rivals did as well.
Gillibrand, a staunch Clinton supporter, gave a different message in speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
Asked if she would release them if she were in the same position, and if Clinton should release the transcripts, Gillibrand said, “I think she will. I think she’s been clear that she’s going to, and yes I would.” She added, “I like transparency and accountability and I know Hillary does as well.”
“I think she cares deeply about openness and transparency, and I think she will release those speeches at the appropriate time,” Gillbrand said.
That wasn’t how Clinton addressed the issue Thursday.
Pressed by debate moderator CNN’s Dana Brasch why the former secretary of state wouldn’t just “put the issue to bed” by releasing the transcripts, Clinton responded, “There are certain expectations when you run for president. This is a new one, and I’ve said, if everybody agrees to do it—because there are speeches for money on the other side, I know that.”
“When everybody does it, OK, I will do it,” she said.
However, the Wall Street Journal reported, Sanders did not point to a specific example of Wall Street money corrupting Clinton’s politics, something his campaign sought to address in media appearances on Friday. As Politico reported:
The Sanders campaign, meanwhile, conceded that its candidate could have been more direct in addressing whether money from Wall Street and other interests has tainted Clinton’s judgment and credibility.
“Well, I suppose he could have,” senior adviser Tad Devine told MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” “There’s a lot of issues he hasn’t really gone nearly as hard as he could.”
In particular, Devine pointed to Clinton’s 2001 vote as a senator for the Bankruptcy Reform Act as one possible instance, after she opposed it as first lady.
Clinton has explained the vote as one she changed at the insistence of then-Sen. Joe Biden. When Mitchell made that point, Devine mused, “She also received enormous contributions from the financial industry, too.”
Also on Friday, the Sanders campaign released a new campaign ad, with the narrator saying, “Wall Street banks shower Washington politicians with campaign contributions and speaking fees. And what do they get for it? A rigged economy, tax breaks and bailouts.”