Former President Bill Clinton quietly made a detour from his wife Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to give a private speech at a medical conference sponsored by a Democratic donor and contributor to the Clinton Foundation, the FOX Business Network has learned.
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A spokesman for the former president confirmed to FBN that Clinton is scheduled to speak Monday night at the Breakthroughs in Medicine & Technology Summit, which is designed to “have interactive conversations about breakthroughs in medicine and technology that will greatly impact humanity, industry and economy on a global basis,” according to the event website.
The conference is the brain child of Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon and professor at UCLA and a billionaire entrepreneur worth a reported $12 billion. He is currently the chief executive of NantHealth, a health care technology company, part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team as well as a second-largest shareholder of Tronc, formerly the Tribune Company.
The former president’s conference attendance comes as his wife is nearing the home stretch of her 2016 presidential campaign against GOP challenger Donald Trump. The move raised some eyebrows among the attendees at the event held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Clintons have come under fire for accepting high-dollar speaking fees from major corporations like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), including those that regularly do business with the federal government and may seek advantages if she wins the 2016 election.
The political couple’s charitable organization, the Clinton Foundation, has also landed them in hot water in recent months. Big donors to the charity have been found to have conducted business with the federal government during Hillary’s time serving as secretary of state under President Barack Obama.
In January 2014 NantHealth partnered with The Clinton Foundation to launch a computer operating system designed to make it easier for patients to learn and access health care information. In that same month, Soon-Shiong spoke at a health conference organized by The Clinton Foundation, and a year later Bill Clinton spoke at the first Breakthroughs in Medicine & Technology Summit conference, which is now in its second year.
Angel Urena, a spokesman for Bill Clinton, said neither the president nor the Clinton Foundation will receive honorariums for his speech this year. A spokeswoman for Soon-Shiong confirmed Bill Clinton’s attendance and said no speakers at the conference will receive speaking fees.
Bill Clinton’s name did not appear on the agenda for the conference, which can only be accessed by attendees and organizers of the event. However, attendees were alerted of his pending appearance via an email late last week.
“It’s a high probability that that he’s not getting paid and the reason is because it comes down to timing of the event” during the 2016 presidential election said Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “He’s not going to take a risk.”
Campaign finance records show Soon-Shiong has been a regular contributor to Democratic politicians and the Democratic National Committee as recently as 2010. However, he has not appeared on donor lists for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run, and has also made donations to Republicans in the past.