Democratic primary front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonThis feminist stands against abortion rights captivity of women's rights Thousands expected for women's march Saturday Five takeaways from Trump's inauguration MORE on Thursday said she does not regret taking extravagant speaking fees from Wall Street firms before she ran for president, arguing that she cannot be bought at any price.
Clinton has been hounded by rival Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from Trump's inauguration Trump takes reins of divided nation Trump's inaugural from the eyes of a Bernie Sanders delegate MORE over her ties to big banks, including her acceptance of speaking fees of up to several hundred thousand dollars per appearance.
Clinton said there was nothing wrong with accepting the money, pointing to the diversity of organizations who solicited her for speeches.
“I have spoken to so many different groups,” she said.
“What they were interested in were my views on what was going on in the world. And whether you’re in health care, or you sell automobiles, or you’re in banking — there’s a lot of interest in getting advice and views about what you think is happening in the world,” she added.
Sanders, who has made income inequality one of the pillars of his upstart presidential campaign, has repeatedly hit Clinton over the issue.
“Goldman Sachs also provides very, very generous speaking fees to some unnamed candidates. Very generous,” the Vermont senator told voters in Carroll, Iowa, on Tuesday, according to the Register.
“Now I know that some of my opponents are very good speakers, very fine orators, smart people. But you gotta be really, really, really good to get $225,000 a speech. That’s all I’ll say,” he added.
Clinton dismissed the charge as out of hand.
“I just don’t buy the argument,” she told the Register. “I get it. It makes a good sound bite and I hear him say it all the time.”
She pointed to Sanders’s own track record on Wall Street, including a vote in 2000 to deregulate trade on credit default swaps and derivatives, which some experts have said contributed to the financial crisis.
“He’s never owned up to it, he never explained it,” she said.
The former first lady also said President Obama accepted contributions from financial firms during his 2008 White House bid.
“That did not stop him from doing what he was supposed to do,” she said. “He pushed through the Dodd-Frank bill. He signed it into law. He has defended it from constant Republican and special interest assault.”