They may have left the White House “dead broke,” as Hillary Clinton claimed, but she and Bill Clinton cashed in so fast and big that they sit atop the list of former first couples who struck gold after the presidency.
Since leaving office, according to financial records and news reports, they have earned at least $155 million from speeches, salaries and book deals, easily outpacing the post-White House incomes of other former presidential families and distancing themselves from the time when Bill Clinton deducted $2 apiece for used underwear donated to an Arkansas charity.
What's more, through the kindness of friends and the successful and richly-funded Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, they've received travel and other benefits. The Foundation itself has assets of $257 million and has spent $50 million on travel expenses.
Overall, their net worth is about $80 million, dwarfing their nearest challenger for the wealth title, former President George W. Bush, at $35 million, according to the popular website Celebrity Net Worth.
The site’s Brian Warner told Secrets, “For the Clintons specifically, their net worths have been relatively easy to track over time. As you're probably aware, the Clintons were required to release income and asset disclosures while they were in office. Since leaving office, data on how much they have earned from speaking engagements and book royalties has been pretty easy to track.”
The Clintons are unusual on the presidential stage. Most recent ex-presidents have set up a foundation, written a book, given a few speeches and generally faded away wealthy, but not fabulously so. But in addition to Hillary Clinton's jobs as a New York senator and President Obama's top diplomat, Bill Clinton has turned the family foundation into a worldwide philanthropic powerhouse befriended by corporations and billionaires.
And while other former presidents, notably Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, earned rare million-dollar paydays from books and speeches, the Clintons have made an industry of it.
For example, their books -- including the anticipated $8 million from Hillary's new memoir Hard Choices -- account for about $40 million. Bill Clinton earned $106 million in speeches through 2013. Hillary has earned an estimated additional $5 million in speeches since leaving the State Department.
Bill Clinton has also collected $2.6 million in a presidential pension, and Hillary Clinton $2 million in State and Senate salary.
"I've never had any money until I got out of the White House," Clinton told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in 2010, in comments similar to Hillary Clinton's during a TV interview this week. "But I've done reasonably well since then."Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.