Palin got $1.25 million retainer for book while in office

'RETAINER': APOC filings detail her finances in final months as governor.

October 27, 2009 

Sarah Palin was paid $1.25 million while governor in advance of her upcoming memoir.

Palin described the book money as a "retainer" in new filings with the Alaska Public Offices Commission that detail her personal finances during final months she was governor. No other details were offered on the deal with publisher HarperCollins, but a retainer would be only an upfront piece of the total Palin would receive.

The disclosures, which cover Jan. 1 until her July 26 resignation as governor, are the final financial information Palin is required to file with the state of Alaska.

"The governor has complied with Alaska disclosure law by her filing yesterday. Now, as a private citizen, her business dealings, including her publishing agreement, are confidential," Palin's spokeswoman, Megan Stapleton, said in an e-mailed statement.

The disclosure doesn't say when between January and July that Palin received the $1.25 million.

The Alaska Department of Law concluded Palin was allowed to take book money while governor despite the prohibition in the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act on taking "employment for compensation." The department said it was not employment, because it's not regular work for a wage.

Typically, authors are paid their advances in several chunks. They get portions when they sign contracts and other checks when the manuscripts are completed. Then, they're paid when the hardcovers are published, and once again when the paperback versions are released.

The hardcover of "Going Rogue: An American Life" is set to hit bookstores on Nov. 17 and is an online best-seller based on pre-orders. The Washington lawyer who brokered Palin's deal, Robert Barnett, said he had no comment on the information in her disclosures. HarperCollins never releases information about how much an author is paid, said the book's publicist, Tina Andreadis.

Palin also reported debt for "legal fees to fight false allegations while governor."

Palin's associates have said she incurred more than $600,000 in legal fees as a result of last year's "Troopergate" investigation by the state Legislature, as well as various ethics complaints against her.

Palin has a legal defense fund that's still soliciting contributions more than three months after an investigator hired by the state personnel board found probable cause it violates Alaska ethics law. The state says how it is dealing with the issue is confidential. All that's known is that the personnel board hasn't followed up by filing any formal accusation, which could trigger a hearing or penalties.

Kristan Cole, trustee for the fund, didn't respond to questions about the status of the fund or how much money it has raised. Cole had said in July it would be "frozen" pending resolution of the legal issues.

Palin's new disclosure report also lists her as owner of "Pie Spy LLC," and describes it as a marketing business. The required corporate filings with the state were made by Stapleton, Palin's spokeswoman and political adviser, who described it in the documents as involving "Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities."

The address of the business is listed as the office of Palin's lawyer in Anchorage, Thomas Van Flein.

Neither Stapleton nor Van Flein responded to questions Tuesday about what "Pie Spy LLC" is about. Palin's new disclosure to the Alaska Public Offices Commission also lists several gifts she received while governor.

That includes $4,250 in Yankees tickets that she obtained in June from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for her husband, her daughter Willow and herself.

Palin also reported receiving $1,664 worth of airfare from evangelist Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse as part of an effort to deliver food aid to western Alaska villages last spring. She also said she received jewelry, a limited-edition single-action revolver and other gifts during the final seven months that she was governor.

Palin's husband, Todd, reported a $2,000 gift from the teen abstinence advocacy group Candie's Foundation for a May trip to New York. Their daughter, Bristol, was a spokeswoman for the group.

Palin also reported $73,000 in salary and $6,370 in per diem as governor from Jan.1 until her resignation from office.

Todd Palin reported $34,086 during that time as a BP production operator. He also disclosed $32,260 from his commercial fishing operation in Bristol Bay, under the business name "Toad's Fisheries."

Todd Palin reported $3,500 in winnings from the Iron Dog snowmachine race and a $3,252 snowmachine discount from his sponsor, Arctic Cat.

Anchorage Daily News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service