Countries often say one thing in speeches but do the other when they vote. Why is this the case? I argue that vote-buying by powerful donor states induces, under certain circumstances, states to vote differently than what they said before. The logic goes as follows. Donors attempt to buy votes in order to legitimize their international policy agenda vis-à-vis their domestic audience – the so-called vote-buying practice – and reveal their voting preferences through public speeches as focal points to potential supporters. Recipients, by contrast, use speeches to signal their domestic audience that they advocate for national interests in the international arena but deviate from these positions to extract aid from voting in-line with a donor. I expect them to do so either when they are highly aid-dependent, suffer less from audience costs for defection due to less transparent domestic institutions or a combination of both. I test my argument by predicting UN General Assembly votes using states’ speeches at the UN General Debate and expect to find lower prediction accuracy for aid-dependent and less transparent states. If my theory holds, the systematic difference between states’ votes and speeches can be explained by US foreign aid payments that result from increasing vote alignment with the US voting position.