In 2 years, Bradley reportedly earned $2.7 million in speaking fees

By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff, 11/02/99

ASHINGTON - Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley earned $2.7 million in speaking fees during the last two years, much of it from special interest groups during the last year, when he began preparing to seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Often earning $35,000 per speech, Bradley spoke before banks, insurance companies, and health care organizations, all of which would be affected by a variety of proposals made by Bradley in recent weeks. Bradley also received hundreds of thousands of dollars as a consultant to Wall Street firms.

While the Bradley campaign has said for months that the candidate earned large speaking fees and worked as a consultant, it released more details yesterday, prompting one of the most direct attacks yet from the opposing campaign of Vice President Al Gore.

''Senator Bradley has asserted that he left the Senate to pursue interests that he couldn't in the Senate,'' Gore spokesman Chris Lehane said in a telephone interview last night. ''Apparently those interests included millions of dollars in special interest speaking fees and big business consulting money.''

The speaking fees could become a potent issue in a campaign that has focused signficantly on reform of the election financing system. Bradley has suggested that federal elections be publicly financed in order to flush the special interest money out of the system.

''In his time after the Senate, Bill Bradley focused on how to rebuild civic life in America, on restoring racial harmony, and on advancing the cause of fundamental campaign finance reform,'' said Bradley spokesman Eric Hauser told the Associated Press. ''He also made a living.''

The Bradley documents show that the senator's speaking and consulting fees came on top of a hefty income that includes pensions from the NBA and the Senate. Bradley and his wife, Ernestine, reported an income of $5.3 million during the two-year period of 1997-98. They paid $931,310 in federal income taxes in 1997 and $836,562 in 1998.

Bradley earned $200,000 as an adviser to Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. He also earned $100,000 as vice chairman of J.P. Morgan's International Council. The other vice chairman was former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is advising the campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush.

Bradley earned his speaking fees through the Washington Speakers Bureau, which serves as a conduit for many former members of Congress and other insiders. Among those paying for Bradley's speeches were Key Corp. Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank, and the American Association of Health Plans.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.