Who is paying Sarah Palin’s enormous legal bills?
She lists no liabilities on the financial disclosure form she filed as a candidate for Alaska’s only seat in the U.S. House.
Palin lost her libel suit against the New York Times in February, but she is appealing it, with someone on the hook for legal fees in the millions. The eventual price tag could top $5 million.
By any standard, the debt to her lawyers or to a secret benefactor is a liability that Palin should reveal to Alaskans.
Palin’s Florida attorneys have filed for a new trial and an appeal to the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Alaska news organizations have yet to write about her legal bills or even raise the question.
In 2008, when Rep. Don Young refused to say why he had spent more than $1 million on attorney fees, Palin called on Young to explain what the money was for. At the time, Young was under federal investigation and said it was not the public’s business how he spent campaign funds.
“Personally, I would like to see more information not less,” Palin said at the time.
Alaskans need more information now from Palin.
In her case against the New York Times, one of the main reasons to believe that Palin isn’t using her own money is that the lawyers hired for her lawsuit are the same guys who helped get a $115 million verdict against Gawker on behalf of former wrestler Hulk Hogan, a decision that put the website out of business.
Only after that lawsuit did the public learn that Hogan’s estimated $10 million in legal bills had been secretly paid by billionaire Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, an early investor in Facebook, an ally of former President Donald Trump and a major GOP donor.
Thiel’s lawyer was Charles Harder, who sat in the courtroom in Palin’s case taking detailed notes. Harder was not working with Palin’s attorneys—Shane Vogt and Kenneth Turkel—but he was the chief attorney and worked with them on the Gawker case.
Palin’s income is based largely on her celebrity status, according to her filing with the U.S. House.
Last year she made $211,529 from Cameo, a website on which celebrities sell a few moments of their time to create personalized video messages.
When she started on the site in December 2020, she said, “We can spread some Christmas cheer for your loved ones. Perhaps a lump of coal for your not-so-loved ones. Either way we can have a ball with this one on Cameo, look me up.”
Palin charges $199 for individuals and $1,000 or more for businesses. She promises a response within 24 hours. A sample video on the site shows clips of Palin walking outside her house to the tune of “These Boots are Made for Walking.”
People send talking points to Palin so she can wish the recipient a happy birthday, a happy retirement, a Merry Christmas or whatever.
Other politicians selling their voices and videos of themselves are Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, and Roger Stone, who both charge half as much as Palin. Rudy Giuliani wants $325 for a few minutes of his time, while Don Trump Jr. asks $500 and up.
Palin’s second-largest source of income last year, $88,578 was from Young Conservatives LLC for “website advertising.” This 2017 Salon story referred to the LLC as a “clickbait factory.”
Her third-largest source of income was a $70,000 salary from Pie Spy LLC, the company she created before quitting her job as governor in 2009.
Under liabilities, her filing says, “None disclosed.”