One has to wonder if all that money is actually paid in return for speeches or does it go much further than that? Is it conceivable that those paying these politicians to make speeches are actually buying favors; IOU's if you will which they will call in at some point in the future?
Talk is cheap unless you're a politician at the podium. Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are charging sky-high speaking fees at public and private events. But for decades politicians have been receiving high wages for standing at the podium.
When former President Gerald Ford left office in 1977, he quickly learned the financial benefits of being paid to make speeches. To manage speaking engagements, the Washington Speakers Bureau was founded in 1979 and has since managed paid speaking jobs for politicians, actors and other celebrities. The rise of this agency has helped speaking fees reach stratospheric levels.
Today, the demand for political speakers is higher than ever.
Here is a list of the top- and bottom-earning presidential candidates.
What Hillary Clinton and 7 2016 Presidential Candidates Earn Per Speech
In the past 40 years, former US presidents have been able to charge higher fees for various speaking engagements. But former President George W. Bush may have struck a nerve by charging a steep price for a 2012 speech to a wounded veterans group.
Sky-high speaking fees have become an accepted, if begrudged, staple of the modern post-presidency. Bill Clinton commands upwards of $200,000 for some speeches, and reportedly pulled in a $500,000 donation to his foundation for one.
But what if a former president charges $100,000 to speak to a group of veterans wounded in wars he started while in office? That's exactly what former President George W. Bush did in 2012 – and now, he's coming under fire for it.
Bush charged the Texas-based charity Helping a Hero $100,000 for a 2012 speech at a charity fundraiser for veterans who lost limbs in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, ABC News first reported. The former president was also flown in a private jet, at a cost of $20,000 to the charity, which provides specially-adapted homes for handicapped veterans.
Board members told ABC it was a "slap in the face" for wounded veterans.
For him to be paid to raise money for veterans that were wounded in combat under his orders, I don't think that's right," former Marine Eddie Wright, who lost both his hands in a 2004 rocket attack in Fallujah, Iraq, told ABC.