Speeches Bring Cory Booker Big Bucks
Newark Mayor Cory Booker has made $1.3 million in fees for 90 speeches he's given around the country since 2008, including nearly $500,000 since the start of last year, according to campaign finance filings made Thursday.
The Democrat disclosed in speaking-engagement income as part of his bid for U.S. Senate in 2014.
Booker's campaign staff provided further details, saying Booker has paid $476,000 in taxes for his speech income and has given away $620,000 to charity, meaning he has kept about $200,000 of the money.
The records show just how often Booker -- often criticized by local critics for globe-trotting -- is away giving speeches.
In a statement Friday, his campaign defended the frequency of his speeches.
"The speaking opportunities have provided benefits for the city of Newark," said campaign spokesman Kevin Griffis. "They have helped the mayor connect to philanthropists and developers and attracted talented people to the city. Further, his talks have helped to increase and improve the city's profile, and allowed the mayor to make significant contributions to Newark nonprofits and organizations hit especially hard during this difficult economic time."
Booker's campaign said he has avoided making paid speeches before groups that do business with Newark.
The campaign provided details on Booker's charitable contributions, including many religious and youth organizations in Newark.
The speaking fees, nearly half of which were from colleges, dwarfed what he makes as mayor of New Jersey's largest city. From the start of 2012 through April, Booker was paid $174,000 for his day job.
The most lucrative speech since the start of 2012 was to the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles last December. It paid $31,500.
The financial disclosure also listed stocks he owns. Booker's portfolio is tech-heavy, including investments in eBay, Apple and Netflix. He also owns more than $1,000 and less than $15,000 in Facebook stock. He and Gov. Chris Christie brokered a deal with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is donating $100 million to educational causes in Newark.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)