Bradley Made $2M in Speaking Fees
WASHINGTON (AP) _ In the two years between leaving the U.S. Senate and announcing his candidacy for president, Bill Bradley earned more than $2.5 million in speaking fees, much of it from special interest groups.
Bradley, who did not seek re-election to the Senate in 1996, reported earning $2.7 million for speeches in 1997 and 1998, according to his income tax returns and financial disclosure statement.
Several of the groups he addressed have issues before Congress, including Chase Manhattan Bank, which has been lobbying to drop Depression-era barriers that prevent banks, insurance companies and investment firms from entering each others’ businesses; the American Association of Health Plans, which has fought legislation to impose new federal rules on managed care organizations; and Sprint, which has challenged efforts by the Bell operating companies to offer long distance telephone service.
Bradley also spoke to other special interest groups and at colleges.
``In his time after the Senate, Bill Bradley focused on how to rebuild civic life in America, on restoring racial harmony and on advancing the cause of fundamental campaign finance reform. He also made a living,″ Bradley spokesman Eric Hauser said.
Bradley stopped accepting speaking fees at the end of 1998.
``Last week in New Hampshire, Sen. Bradley said he chose to leave the Senate so he could do things that he couldn’t do in the Senate. I guess that means taking millions in special-interest speaking fees and Wall Street consulting money,″ countered Chris Lehane, a spokesman for Vice President Al Gore, Bradley’s rival for the Democratic nomination.
Bradley’s long list of speaking fees is at odds with his emphasis on the campaign trail as an advocate of overhauling the way political campaigns are funded, said Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington watchdog group.
``He is deeply personally tied to some of the most powerful economic interests in the U.S.,″ Lewis said. ``That’s not illegal but it does put him and some of his statements in some perspective.″
Overall, Bradley and wife Ernestine reported earning $5.3 million during the two years. They paid $931,310 in federal income taxes in 1997 and $836,562 in 1998.
Last year, Bradley also earned $431,250 for advising three investment houses, including $100,000 for serving as vice chairman of J.P. Morgan’s International Council. The other vice chairman was former Secretary of State George Schultz. Bradley also was paid $200,000 as a senior advisor to Morgan Guaranty Trust Co.
Wall Street firms have been among the most generous supporters to Bradley’s presidential campaign. Between July 1 and Sept. 30 _ when Bradley raised more money than Gore _ he collected $167,200 from employees of Goldman Sachs, $75,450 from employees of Lehman Brothers and $63,440 from employees of Merrill Lynch, which also pushed for the financial services bill. Lehman employees earlier gave Bradley $81,500, and Merrill Lynch earlier contributed $58,500.
Bradley also received pensions from his Senate service and his time as a basketball star with the New York Knicks. He also served as an essayist for CBS Evening News and hosted a series on the Arts and Entertainment cable network.