Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 0, No 3
12 October 1998

Andrew Stroehlein C Z E C H   R E P U B L I C :
Klaus's Lectures

Andrew Stroehlein

Last week, in this magazine, we raised several questions as to Vaclav Klaus's activities on the lucrative lecture circuit in the United States. Here's what we have discovered since then.

Chairman of the Lower House of Parliament Vaclav Klaus is still very active on the American lecture circuit, giving lectures at the end of September and beginning of October in Washington at the World Economic Development Congress (not to be mistaken for the IMF conference) and in San Francisco at the Independent Institute.

Last week, we posed three questions:

  1. How much is this public servant being paid for these appearances?
  2. Why doesn't anyone in the Czech Republic find it odd that the Chairman of the Lower House of Parliament receives payments outside of his own salary?
  3. Why are these American institutions asking Klaus to speak on economics, when the damage his policies brought is now so widely recognized in the West?

After a few phone calls, we can answer the first question at least in part. The people at the World Economic Development Congress informed us that some speakers were paid for their appearance and some were not. They refused to detail who was and who was not paid, but the fact that the logo next to Klaus's picture on the web page is for Black & Veatch (an engineering construction company) makes one suspicious.

With Klaus's speech in San Francisco, the picture is somewhat clearer. A spokesman for the Independent Institute told CER that, because Klaus is a personal friend of the Institute, he spoke for free. But Klaus did receive his flight from Washington and accommodation in San Francisco courtesy of the Independent Institute. Presuming Klaus did not fly economy class and had a respectable room in San Francisco, one would guess the Institute's gift to him totaled between 1500 and 2000 USD. That may not seem like too much, until one considers that the average wage in this country is about 400 USD a month and the average parliamentary representative receives about 1000 USD per month.

Questions two and three, unfortunately, remain unanswered for now.

Andrew Stroehlein, 12 October 1998


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