In Demand: Washington's Highest (and Lowest) Speaking Fees

Speaking engagements are a common way for pols to earn extra income.

ByABC News
July 14, 2014, 2:30 PM
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and former President Bill Clinton stand under an umbrella during inaugural ceremonies for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Jan. 11, 2014.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and former President Bill Clinton stand under an umbrella during inaugural ceremonies for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Jan. 11, 2014.
Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

— -- intro: Speaking engagements are a common way for people to drum up some extra income after long stints in public office or attempts to reach public office. But depending on how much they’re charging, and who’s paying, speaking fees often lead to intense public scrutiny and criticism for politicos looking to make a buck.

When accompanied by an unfortunate gaffe or an outlandish price tag, a politician’s speaking engagements can color them as greedy or simply out of touch.

WATCH: Hillary Clinton Ribbed About 'Dead Broke' Comment

Including Bill and Hillary Clinton's speaking fee fortune and Donald Trump's eye-popping $1.5 million speeches, ABC News took a look at America’s highest-paid public speakers to date.

quicklist: 1category: title: $200,000 & Up url: text: Donald Trump - $1.5M

Topping the list by a longshot is billionaire birther and infamous reality-TV host Donald Trump. “The Donald earned a staggering $1.5 million per speech at The Learning Annex’s ‘real estate wealth expos’ in 2006 and 2007,” according to Forbes. “Trump appeared at 17 seminars and collected this fee for each one.”

Hillary Clinton - $200K

Commanding around $200,000, Clinton recently came under fire for her $250,000 speaking fee at an upcoming UNLV fundraiser. Hilary told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in June that her family was “dead broke” upon leaving White House.

Bill Clinton - $200K

Though he is typically paid around $200,000, there are some notable exceptions. Swedish Telecom firm Ericsson reportedly paid the former president $750,000 for one speech in 2011. The Washington Post published a comprehensive review of the astounding $104.9 million Clinton has amassed in speaking fees since leaving office.

Tim Geithner - $200K

The former Treasury secretary was reportedly paid $100,000 to speak at Blackstone’s annual meeting in 2013. He was also paid as much as $200,000 to speak at a Deutsch Bank conference last year, according to the Financial Times.

Ben Bernanke - $200K to $400K

Bernanke makes between $200,000 and $400,000 per speaking engagement, according to the New York Times. The former chairman of the Federal Reserve’s international audience reportedly includes “a Middle Eastern bank, private equity firms and trade associations.”media: 19928615caption: related:

quicklist: 2category: title: $100,000 to $150,000 url: text: George W. Bush - $150K

Since leaving office, the former president has made more than $15 million in speaking fees, apparently charging between $100,000 and $150,000 per speech, according to Yahoo News.

Condoleezza Rice - 150K

The former Secretary of State was recently paid $150,000 to speak at the University of Minnesota. Her speaking engagement was met with over 200 protesters, according to the Minnesota Daily.

Larry Summers - $135K

The former Treasury secretary's speaking fees vary, but he has been paid as much as $135,000 by Goldman Sachs for a single speaking engagement, according to MSN.

Al Gore - $100K

In his heyday, the former vice president reportedly received $100,000 for his speaking engagements. Keeping in line with the theme of his “Environmental Media Lecture, Gore requested “a sedan, not an SUV,” for transportation, and that the vehicle be a hybrid, if possible.

Sarah Palin - $100K

Back in 2010 when Palin was quite prominent on the national stage, her typical speaking fee was $100,000, according to Politico.

David Plouffe - $100K

The Washington Post reported that David Plouffe accepted a speaking fee of $100,000 from a subsidiary of MTN Group, a company criticized for doing business in Iran. Plouffe accepted the money only a month before taking the position of senior White House 24530302caption: related:

quicklist: 3category: title: $50,000 to $75,000url: text:Chelsea Clinton - $75K

Joining the ranks of her parents, Chelsea Clinton commands a speaking fee of $75,000, according to the New York Times, all of which goes directly to the Clinton Foundation.

Dick Cheney - $75K

The former vice president’s typical speaking fee is “$75,000, plus first-class travel for an entourage of three,” according to the Washington Post.

Mitt Romney - $68K

The former Republican presidential nominee reported in 2012 that he had made $374,327 in speaking fees, which he described as “not very much.” Romney was paid as much as $68,000 by Goldentree Asset Management for a single speaking engagement, according to USA Today.

Newt Gingrich - $60K

The former speaker of the House claimed that he charged $60,000 per speech. He said this allowed him to do “no lobbying of any kind,” according to the Huffington 24552779caption: related:

quicklist: 4category: title: $50,000 & belowurl: text:Ron Paul - $50K

After leaving the House of Representatives, the former presidential candidate was charging as much as $50,000 for speaking engagements, according to BuzzFeed.

Jeb Bush - $50K

The New York Times reported that the former Florida governor, and brother of George W. Bush, earns about $50,000 for his speaking engagements to corporate audiences.

Colin Powell & Madeline Albright - $50K

Both of these former secretaries of state are “in the $50,000 range,” said one person who has booked speakers but who could not discuss private contracts for attribution,” the New York Times reported, significantly less than their successors Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Liz Cheney - $20K

Daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz makes nearly one-third of what her dad charges when it comes to speaking fees. “Liz Cheney gets $20,000 plus travel for one,” according to 20296372 caption: related: