Chelsea Clinton Makes $900,000 for Doing Almost Nothing-Mostly Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

A forwarded email about Chelsea Clinton making a total of $900,000 for doing almost nothing warns about America turning into an oligarchy.

The Truth:

Claims about Chelsea Clinton making $900,000 for doing nothing are mostly false because they’re based on outdated and false information.

Those rumors began circulating in June 2014 after Politico reported that Chelsea Clinton was paid $600,000 a year for a part-time stint as “special correspondent” for NBC News from 2011-2014.

In order to arrive at the “$900,000 for doing almost nothing” conclusion, the rumors claim that Chelsea Clinton earns $300,000 per year for her role at the Clinton Foundation. However, we have found that claim to be false (more on that later).

We’ll start out by looking at claims related to Chelsea Clinton’s work at NBC News.

The initial Politico story that broke details of Chelsea’s dealings with NBC reports:

Chelsea Clinton earned an annual salary of $600,000 at NBC News before switching to a month-to-month contract earlier this year, sources with knowledge of the agreement told Politico.

Clinton, who joined NBC News as a special correspondent in November 2011, was up for renewal or nonrenewal this year. Instead, the sources said, the network decided to keep her on the payroll on a month-to-month basis so the two parties could sever ties if Clinton’s mother, Hillary Clinton, runs for president.

New York Magazine picked up the story from there, adding that Chelsea Clinton collected that hefty paycheck “to do nothing, basically” at NBC News:

Former first child (now with child) Chelsea Clinton had a $600,000 annual contract at NBC News, Politico reports, where she served as a “special correspondent” and was deemed to be mostly useless, if not “one of the most boring people of her era.” That deal is over now, but Clinton is still being paid by the network (which has also hired Luke Russert, Meghan McCain, and Jenna Bush … ) on a month-to-month basis, with complicating factors including her pregnancy and the good odds her mother is running for president.

“NBC News continues to enjoy a wonderful working relationship with Chelsea, and we are proud of her work,” said a spokesperson.

In September 2015, Vanity Fair cited sources within NBC News who called Chelsea Clinton’s stint there “a disaster” and said that news of her sizeable salary for a part-time job had caused ripples in the organization:

Her stint at NBC was a disaster, perhaps because it ran so contrary to her instincts. “Most of us were baffled [by the hire], because she never even spoke to the press,” says an NBC veteran. “She’d walk by with the imperial stare, looking forward, and interacted not at all.” The feeling inside NBC was that she had been hired to maintain access to and curry favor with the Clintons. When news broke that she had been getting paid $600,000—for a part-time job—NBC staffers were appalled. Most full-time correspondents were being paid far less. The big salary was predicated on the idea that she was already a star, and according to an insider, she started acting like one. Colleagues felt they couldn’t communicate with her directly. Instead, they had to go through her people. And she was hardly present in the office. “There was a joke inside the building that she was the ‘highest-paid ghost’ at NBC,” says a network source. It all might have been excused had she been any good. In the span of nearly three years, however, she filed only a handful of segments—all painfully stiff reports on global do-gooders, plus an attempted comic interview with the Geico Gecko. As the insider puts it, “NBC has made a lot of bad decisions in the last few years, but hiring Chelsea has to be very near the top.”

So, it’s true that Chelsea Clinton was paid $600,000 a year for a limited, part-time role at NBC News from 2011-2014 — but she’s no longer employed there. That makes that portion of the rumor outdated.

And claims about Chelsea’s Clinton’s salary at the Clinton Foundation are just plain fiction. According to tax records filed by the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea earns no reportable compensation for her role there.

In conclusion, it’s true that Chelsea Clinton once earned $600,000 a year for her role as special correspondent at NBC News — but that’s not the case anymore. And Chelsea doesn’t earn $300,000 a year working at the Clinton Foundation, according to tax records. That’s why we’re calling this one “mostly fiction.”


A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

A feature of oligarchy is the dynastic ascension of new leaders, children who rise to positions of power and wealth simply by the luck of birth. We welcome Chelsea Clinton to the club.


Earning $445 Per Second at NBC


Unlike most well-to-do young people who, after a decent education, take a series of unpaid internships and entry-level positions to begin working their way up some corporate ladder, Chelsea jumped more than a few rungs. Despite never having attended journalism school or otherwise having worked in the field, Chelsea was hired by NBC News to do feel-good stories as part of their “Making a Difference” series. Though the starting salary for such positions is already a chunky $100,000-200,000, Chelsea is being paid $600,000 a year for the same work.


Or less work. Here is a list of Chelsea’s recent NBC stories:


– June 10, NBC Nightly News, on diabetes.

– June 10, Today show, on a car accident in New Jersey.

– June 5, NBC Nightly News, General Motors safety scandal.

– June 4, Today show, missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

– June 4, NBC Nightly News, about people pointing lasers at aircraft.

– June 3, NBC Nightly News, food-borne illnesses.

– June 2, Interviewed the Geico gecko, an animated character who sells insurance.


All told, in her almost three-year tenure at NBC, Chelsea has worked on all of 14 stories.


Business Insider calculated since starting work in November 2011, Chelsea earned about $26,724 for each minute she appeared on air, or $445 per second. As in one-two-three = $1335, there’s your month’s rent.


NBC has an eye for talent, at least the talent of children of important politicians. In 2009, it hired George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna to serve as a correspondent on the Today” show. In 2011, it hired Senator John McCain’s daughter Meghan as a contributor on MSNBC.


More Chelsea $$$$$$$$


But back to Chelsea. She told the New York Times in 2011 when hired by NBC she intended to donate most of the money she earned to the Clinton Foundation. In addition to her gig at NBC, Chelsea also serves Vice Chair of the recently renamed “Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation,” where she was “a major force in steering her parents’ charitable work” in the final years of her mother’s time at the State Department.


Chelsea also benefits from a job as a board member for Barry Diller’s IAC/InteractiveCorp. Salary for Chelsea: $300,000. The board position also pays an annual retainer of $50,000 and a $250,000 grant of restricted stock.


Chelsea, though she only graduated with a master’s degree in 2010, started teaching graduate level classes two years later at Columbia University’s School of Public Health. Her exact salary is unknown. However, the average salary for a Columbia lecturer is $51,671.


Chelsea holds another academic post, salary unknown, as assistant vice provost for the Global Network University at New York University.


Chelsea has also presented an award to her mother at Diane Von Furstenberg’s International Women’s Day event and hosted her father’s 65th birthday at a Hollywood benefit for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation with guests Lady Gaga and Bono.


Chelsea’s personal fortune is estimated at $15 million, most earned as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and by working for Avenue Capital Investment Group as a hedge fund manager. Chelsea and her husband live in a $10.5 million condominium in Manhattan.


Chelsea is only 34 years old and has already accomplished so much. What a bright future lies ahead! America is still a country where any child can grow up to someday become president.