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Joe Biden paid $200,000 for speech at public university

Student newspaper estimates undergrads indirectly paid $21,250 for the speech

Joe Biden was paid $200,000 for a speech he gave last fall at a public university, according to a copy of the speaking contract recently obtained by The Spectrum student newspaper, which filed a public records request to obtain a copy.

The former vice president was among the speakers for the University at Buffalo’s 2018-19 distinguished speakers series. The series is run through the university’s private, nonprofit foundation, which states on its website that no state funds, tuition dollars or general gifts to the university or foundation are used to underwrite its costs.

However, in reporting on the matter, The Spectrum argues student funds helped support the speech’s costs. There were six distinguished speakers during 2018-19, and the student government, using money collected from student fees, allocated $127,500 to University Events to help shoulder the series’ costs. That amount divided by six speakers equals $21,250 per speaker/speech:

Student governments, such as the Student Association, pay University Events to sponsor the series every year. This fall, SA paid University Events $127,500 to sponsor the 2018-19 series. The Spectrum estimates that undergraduate students paid SA $21,250 for the speech but could not confirm this since UBF draws funds from multiple sponsors, public and private, for the series and fees vary amongst all the series’ six speakers. …

The $200,000 contract called for a 30-minute speech, a 45-minute moderated Q&A session, a book/poster signing, a photo opportunity, a meet and greet with “up to 16 attendees” and an interview with Spectrum reporters, according to the documents.

Biden gave the speech in October, roughly six months before he announced his candidacy for president. “We must choose hope over fear. Truth over lies. Hope and history rise, along with dignity and respect. We must remember who the hell we are. We are America and we own the finish line,” the lifelong Democrat politician said at the event.

The New York Times in January reported that Biden was also paid $200,000 in October 2018 for a speech he gave on behalf of the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan. It also reported Biden refused to be paid his $100,000 asking price for his speech at the University of Utah in December after learning the school would use state funds to help foot the bill.

“Mindful of Hillary Clinton’s stumbles in the 2016 presidential race, Mr. Biden has attempted to set guidelines for his activities that would minimize any political sensitivity, declining to give paid speeches to big banks or to accept foreign contributions to several nonprofit organizations he controls,” the Times reported.

As for the other five distinguished speakers at the University at Buffalo over the last year, they are: businessman and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, best-selling author Lisa Genova, radical leftist scholar and activist Angela Davis, investigative journalist Ronan Farrow, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Read The Spectrum’s article.

MORE: Trust, But Verify? Hillary Clinton Campus Speech Donations Can’t Be Confirmed

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MORE: Hillary Clinton to Get $225k For Speech From University Raising Tuition 17%

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

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