Apr. 13, 2010 — -- Pundits can debate the political costs and benefits of Sarah Palin's decision to step down as Alaska governor, but the monetary advantages of leaving her $125,000-a-year public service post are beyond dispute.
Since leaving office at the end of July 2009, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has brought in at least 100 times her old salary – a haul now estimated at more than $12 million -- through television and book deals and a heavy schedule of speaking appearances worth five and six figures.
That conservative estimate is based on publicly available records and news accounts. The actual number is probably much higher, but is hard to quantify because Palin does not publicize her earnings. She reputedly got a $7 million deal for her first book, with the bulk of that money due after her resignation as governor, and will earn about $250,000 per episode, according to the web site The Daily Beast, for each of eight episodes of a reality show about Alaska for the The Learning Channel. She has managed to keep a lid on reliable figures for her earnings from a multi-year contract with Fox News and a second book deal with HarperCollins.
A Palin aide responding to questions from ABC News said the governor "is now a private citizen. As a result, her fees and earnings are private."
While book and television royalties are huge earners, Palin, 46, has taken on a breakneck schedule of public speaking engagements, booked through the Washington Speakers Bureau. Her typical fee is $100,000, according to a January report in Politico, though she accepts a somewhat smaller fee for events on the West Coast because they are easier to get to from Alaska. Speakers Bureau officials did not respond to emailed questions.