Critics are blasting Obama for accepting $400,000 from Wall Street for speech

Critics are blasting Obama for accepting $400,000 from Wall Street for speech
Source: AP
Source: AP

Former President Barack Obama is being called gross and a hypocrite today for doing something he's been doing ever since he first ran for the highest office in the land: taking big money from Wall Street.

The New York Times yesterday reported on Monday's breaking news that Obama is set to be paid a whopping $400,000 for a September healthcare conference speech run by the trading and investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

This, from the man who for years railed against the "reckless practices" of Wall Street banks and the role they played in the 2008 financial crisis and Great Recession, as well as the corrupting influence of big money in American politics.

Obama's spokesman Eric Schultz told the Times in a prepared statement that Obama is giving the speech because healthcare was important to him, but critics like reporter Aaron Blake of the Washington Post and folks on Twitter weren't satisfied.

Obama is not the only president to cash in after leaving Washington

In 2012, CNN estimated former president Bill Clinton had earned about $89 million giving post-White House speeches.

In 2013, Bill Clinton received a $500,000 advance to give a speech at Israeli President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday party, according to the New York Daily News.

Former President Bill Clinton yucks it up with the band at the 90th birthday bash for Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2013. Clinton was paid a $500,000 advance for his speech at the event.
Source: Jim Hollander/AP

In 2011, the Center for Public Integrity found that George W. Bush had earned at least $15 million in public speaking fees since he left the White House, giving almost 140 speeches for as much as $150,000 a pop.

Obama has certainly taken money from Wall Street before

The former president has been raising money from Wall Street throughout his career and he's never been shy about that fact.

Obama has actually raised more money from Wall Street than any politician in the history of the United States, according to Politico.

When he first ran for president in 2008, for example, Obama received $17.4 million from the combined securities and investment sector, according to OpenSecrets.org, and an additional $44.3 million in campaign funds from the combined financial services, insurance and real estate sectors.

Republican Sen. John McCain only received about $9.7 million from the securities and investment sector and $31.4 million from financial services, insurance and real estate. Hillary Clinton was a distant third in that cycle when it comes to raising Wall Street money, with a paltry $7.5 million from securities and a little over $21 million from financial services.

That Wall Street money, however, didn't stop Obama from advocating for landmark financial reform measures with the passage of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.