During a CNN interview held on Tuesday, Jane Sanders issued a rather direct challenge of Hillary Clinton. She asked the presidential candidate to release the transcripts of the paid speeches she made to Wall Street. If she does so, Bernie Sanders’ tax returns would be released in exchange.
Mrs. Sanders is the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and has previously served as President of Burlington College. She has already released the 2014 tax return belonging to Senator Sanders in exchange for Hillary Clinton making her tax returns public. During an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Sanders has stated that if Clinton wants to see previous tax returns be released, she would first have to make public the transcripts of some speeches she gave. In 2014 and 2015, Clinton has given 51 speeches and has earned $11 million from them.
Three of these speeches were delivered to Goldman Sachs and it was reported that Clinton was paid $675,000 for them. Goldman Sachs is a firm that is quite controversial. The investment banking firm has drawn the ire of many Americans for a series of dubious practices. This includes fraudulently selling securities that they knew to be worthless to many large clients, including state retirement funds, for which the firm has received a fine of $5 billion.
The money paid by Goldman Sachs to have Clinton speak comes close to the net worth of the Sanders household, which was reported to be nearly $750,000 in 2015. While voters may be waiting in anticipation for Clinton’s answer, it isn’t too likely that she will make the content of her speeches public anytime in the near future. This is possibly because their content may be a little bit too kind towards Wall Street, which could cause problems for her as the election cycle is taking populist undertones. According to journalists who spoke to people in attendance during Clinton’s speeches, she had spoken very positively about the investment banking firm and praised the work they had done helping create jobs and raising capital. One attendee even remarked that “she sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.”
Social media comments show that some voters believe that Clinton is reluctant to release the content of the speeches because it could make it seem like she has a too positive opinion of Goldman Sachs and other large players in the banking industry, despite calling for tougher regulations on big banks.