Why did Vanguard Group pay Bill Clinton $400,000? (Update)

Hillary and Bill Clinton. (AP Photo)

Update July 2016: Vanguard actually paid Bill Clinton $400,000 back in 2012 -- $200,000 for each of two speeches to Vanguard institutional client groups, Vanguard spokesman John Woerth confirms.

Previously: In this story noting that ex-President Bill and would-be President Hilary Clinton, who claim to support inheritance taxes, have hired expert trust professionals to reduce their own inheritance liability and keep their money with daughter Chelsea and her descendants instead of the government, Bloomberg reporter Richard Rubin sifted through Hilary Clinton's official-disclosure forms and found that Bill Clinton earned a quick $200,000 making a speech for Malvern-based Vanguard Group, the mutual fund giant, in 2012.

What did Vanguard get for its clients' money? I asked Vanguard spokesman Linda Wolahan. She wrote back: "Every other year, we host a conference for our Institutional clients -- companies that hire us to administer their 401k and other retirement plans -- as an education forum to help them stay current on fiduciary requirements, plan design, participant behavior, and what their peers are doing with their plans. This conference is part of our commitment to provide plan sponsors with the tools and knowledge to help their participants save successfully for retirement.

"Our clients have asked that we provide diversity of thought, especially on leadership, which is why we bring in speakers such as Mr. Clinton. Because this conference was held in Washington in 2012, an election year, we looked for a speaker who could provide perspective on major issues. Mr. Clinton was available and served as our speaker that year."

I remember Vanguard's top Washington "government relations" man, Brian Mattes, as a conservative guy. Wolahan says the company hasn't turned Democratic: "Vanguard is party neutral; we did not ask him to speak politically, nor did he. He spoke about his foundation and ways to propel social change."

UPDATE 4/15: Clinton has collected millions in corporate speech fees in recent years. See this list compiled by David Sirota at International Business Times from State Department and Congressional records.

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