HRC’s Final Paid Speech – $260K from the ACA?
Even Hillary Clinton’s most innocuous paid speech to the American Camp Association has a questionable backstory
Why would a 501c3 non-profit organized to promote summer camps spend 10 per cent of its annual budget on a Hillary Clinton speech?
That was the simple question I wanted to answer when I began researching this piece. I’d flippantly doubted that the American Camp Association would pay $225K for a speech and was corrected by kossack northleft that the actual amount was $260K. Intrigued by the notion that Hillary Clinton knew anything about camping, I soon found myself exploring a much deeper set of issues.
On March 19, 2015 Hillary Clinton made the last of a series of paid speeches to the Tri-State Chapter of the American Camp Association (ACA). Twenty-four days later she would declare her candidacy for the presidency. While much has been made of her behind-closed-doors speeches to Goldman Sachs, the ACA speech and its follow-up Q&A session with former NY Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs, who owns Timber Lake, an overnight camp in the Catskill Mountains, was available right here on Daily Kos.
The Clinton speech was a departure for the ACA, which typically presents keynotes by child development experts and professionals associated with camp-related issues. It was a light and conversational 26 minutes that touched on politics only to the extent that Clinton facetiously suggested that the adults in Washington would do well to go to a bipartisan camp. It was Blue Cabin meet Red Cabin fluff, which got a couple of good laughs. The Q&A session lasted 36 minutes. So who was she talking to?
The American Camp Association is a national non-profit 501c3 that has 10,000 members and three regional affiliates that represent 2,500 summer and day camps throughout the U.S. It provides professional development and educational opportunities for the camp industry and among its top public-policy priorities lobbies for the Camp Counselor and Student Work Travel (SWT)  categories of the J-1 visa program administered by the U.S. State Department.