This economist was not a Heritage Foundation scholar or Ayn Rand Institute fellow. The speaker that June was none other than Lawrence Summers, who had just finished up his role as director of the White House National Economic Council, where he was President Obama’s top economic adviser.
While working for the anti-corruption blog Republic Report last year, I reached out to conference organizer Kartik Kilachand to ask him about the speaking fee Summers was given and why his full remarks were never posted to the website (only a snippet was published). Kilachand replied that this was “confidential information” because the conference had signed a non-disclosure agreement with Summers that concealed both his full remarks and speaking fee. I also made a query to Julie Shample, Summers’s assistant at Harvard. “I wouldn’t have any information about this, you may want to check with the forum,” replied Shample.
This practice of giving private paid speeches to big corporations was nothing new for Summers. Before joining the Obama administration, he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees from financial institutions that the White House was involved in bailing out and then shielding from more intense regulation. For Summers, the speech at the outsourcing conference was simply a relapse. MORE