| WASHINGTON, March 3
WASHINGTON, March 3 For $9,600, fans of former
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can rent a luxury suite
for her scheduled June speech near Denver, part of a package
that includes seats for 26 guests and five VIP parking passes.
The original prices for tickets to Clinton's speech at the
1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado ranged from around $50 to
$200, but ticket companies scooped up many of the arena's 6,500
seats and now the secondary market for Clinton tickets is
The Colorado speech on June 2 is one of two Clinton
appearances being marketed by Unique Lives & Experiences.
Billing itself as "North America's foremost women's lecture
series," the program is sponsored by a Canadian company and
specializes in "intellectual entertainment."
The speeches are part of an unusual series of appearances
Clinton is making across the nation this year, a tour that has
kept her in the spotlight at a time when she is the widely
presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential
nomination. The Unique Lives speeches appear to be the first
events marketed toward the general public - potential voters -
where attendees are being charged for entry.
Money-making speaking tours are common for politicians who
are retiring from prominent public lives. But Clinton's carries
some political risk because she is weighing whether to run for
president, a decision she has said she will make late this year
or in early 2015.
In recent months Clinton has been paid substantial fees for
speeches to several groups, including investors of Goldman Sachs
and the Carlyle Group that drew some criticism from liberal
groups that questioned whether she was being too cozy with Wall
She has given other speeches to students and charity groups
for free or at modest rates. Her staff does not discuss her
speaking fees but several agents who book prominent political
figures have said they believe Clinton's fee could reach
$250,000 per speech.
It is unclear how much Clinton will be paid for her
appearances in Colorado and in San Jose, California, on April
10, or what her financial arrangements are with Let's Talk
Entertainment Inc., which is promoting the speeches.
Howard Szigeti, president of Let's Talk, did not respond to
requests for comment. Clinton's staff referred questions to the
event's hosts, in this case Let's Talk.
Ticket sales are brisk for the events on secondary market
websites run by Event Tickets Center, VividSeats and StubHub,
where seats in the upper sections of large civic auditoriums are
resold at around $100 and suites are going for thousands of
Clinton's ticketed appearances, arranged by Szigeti, a
Toronto-based promoter, have base prices similar to what
high-profile entertainers such as musicians Hall and Oates and
Cirque de Soleil charge at the Colorado venue. The tickets for
the June event top out at about $200 through the official
retailer, Altitude Tickets.
Tickets are also available online for separate Clinton
speeches unaffiliated with Unique Lives or Let's Talk, in
Vancouver on Wednesday and Calgary, Canada on Thursday.
Selling tickets to potential voters, and not just business
professionals, "is a risk," said John Hudak, a specialist in
presidential politics at the Brookings Institution.
"There could be blowback from the left and from the right
for a decision to participate in an arrangement that is not
typical for presidential candidates" if she were to run, he
But he thinks Clinton's decision to speak in front of such
audiences was carefully considered.
"I am sure she is approaching it in a calculated way. We
will find out soon enough whether she is miscalculating" the
public reaction to her paid speeches, he added.
Szigeti's Unique Lives also promoted speeches by former
first lady Laura Bush in 2011 and former President Bill Clinton
- Hillary Clinton's husband - in 2012.
(Editing by David Lindsey and Tom Brown)