Bill Clinton will keep giving speeches to 'pay our bills'

WASHINGTON - Former US president Bill Clinton said in an interview that aired Monday he will keep giving lucrative speeches "to pay our bills" while wife Hillary Clinton runs for the White House.

Defending his charity work on a trip to Africa, Clinton said Hillary told him no foreign official has sought to influence her through donations to the family's foundation, which has come under fire for accepting millions of dollars from foreign governments.

Bill Clinton told NBC News he would step down from running the foundation "if it's the right thing to do." But he insisted he would maintain a schedule of speaking events - several of which reportedly paid him $500,000 a pop in recent years - despite amassing a fortune in the 14 years since leaving the White House.

"Oh, yeah. I've got to pay our bills," Clinton said when asked if he would carry on with paid speaking engagements.

Clinton said he gives 10 per cent of his revenue each year to the Clinton Foundation, and that Hillary "gave 17 per cent" in the years she was with it.

Hillary Clinton has since stepped down from the foundation, amid accusations that her involvement with it raised potential conflicts of interest.

Criticism has persisted, however, and her husband sought to tamp down accusations that foreign donors tried to buy influence with the Democratic presidential frontrunner.

"I asked Hillary about this," Clinton told NBC during a charity trip to Africa.

"She said 'no one's ever tried to influence me by helping you. No one has even suggested they have a shred of evidence to that effect.'" The comments come the day before publication of a potentially damning book, "Clinton Cash," which is said to detail potential financial conflicts involving the Clinton Foundation.

"I don't think there's anything sinister in trying to get wealthy people and countries that are seriously involved in development to spend their money wisely in a way that helps poor people," Bill Clinton said.