by John Grooms
Remember when Sarah Palin quit her job as governor, and some people said she was doing it for the money? Guess what? Palin has raked in more than $12 million from book and TV deals and speaking engagements since she quit public office last July. Thats a conservative estimate, but is still nearly 10 times the $125,000 she made as governor.
ABC News dug into Palins finances (as well as they could, considering the ex-guvs penchant for confidentiality and document-shredding), and found a veritable hustling machine at work. Palin made between $5 and $7 million from her memoir, and will make at least $250,000 per episode of her reality show about Alaska. Figures for her second book contract, and her FoxNews deal are still under wraps and arent included in the $12 million figure. Palin has also been giving speeches at a whirlwind pace, for the astonishing fee of $100,000 per speech. Her fee ticked off lots of fellow Republicans in Iowa when she spoke at an event held by the Iowa Family Public Policy Center; and raised eyebrows when the Tea Party convention in Nashville charged $349 to attend her speech there.
Other former office holders have made lots of money from speaking engagements, notably Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr., but it is very unusual for someone who is considered a possible future presidential candidate to exploit his/her position the way Palin has. But then, Palin has always shown a fondness for self-promotional hustling, starting with her post-high school beauty queen era, on to her TV news personality stint, all the way to being the big-spending mayor of Wasilla, and then climbing over former allies to campaign for governor. That job turned out to be too hard, so she cozied up to far-right GOP power brokers, who talked John McCain into picking her as his VP. She loved the limelight and, rather than deal with the job she was elected to do (which would have included fighting off various scandals), she chucked the position and went for the bucks that come with inhabiting the national stage.
News of Palins new wealth have coincided with revelations of the demands she includes in her speaking contract: first-class travel or private plane, pre-screened questions, black SUVs, bendable straws, and more. Read about that here.