Bristol Palin Paid $262,500 by Candies, 7 Times Amount Spent on Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Bristol Palin was paid $262,500 by Candies Foundation as an anti-teen pregnancy spokesman. That's 7 times what they spent on teen pregnancy prevention.

AP (“Bristol Palin earns $262K for teen pregnancy work“):

Tax documents show unwed mother Bristol Palin earned more than $262,000 for her role in helping raise awareness for teen pregnancy prevention in 2009.

The most recent data for The Candie’s Foundation that’s posted online by research firm GuideStar shows compensation at $262,500 for the now 20-year-old daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee.

Bristol Palin was 18 when she was appointed as a teen ambassador for the New York-based foundation in 2009, months after giving birth to son, Tripp. She and the 2-year-old boy’s father, Levi Johnston, are no longer together.

Good work if you can get it, I guess. Certainly, the average 20-year-old unwed teen mother with no education and discernible skills makes less. But it’s not like she forced them to pay her such a handsome salary. And she’s doubtless famous. Maybe she’s worth much more in increased fundraising and impact?

But Think Progress’ Lee Fang reports that “a closer examination of the tax form by ThinkProgress shows that the group disbursed only $35,000 in grants to actual teen pregnancy health and counseling clinics: $25,000 to the Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center and $10,000 to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.” Thus, “the nonprofit paid Bristol over seven times what it paid to teen pregnancy prevention groups. In addition, the Candie’s Foundation spent $165,000 on advertising, including [a] spot with Bristol and ‘The Situation’ of MTV’s Jersey Shore.”

Again, that’s not in any way Bristol Palin’s responsibility. There’s no reason she would have any clue how they disbursed their funds. But it’s yet another object lesson in the inadvisability of donating to “charities” endorsed by celebrities without thorough research.

UPDATE: Commenter Jay Caruso points out that Candies Foundation touts itself as an “action organization” rather than a grant-making organization. And the linked tax form says as much: “educating . . . through celebrity PSAs and initiatives.” But, even if we factor in the $165,000 spent on advertising, we’re still left with an amount far short of the payout to Palin–and that’s assuming that the advertising featuring Palin isn’t counting her prorated salary as a part of the expense of the spot.

Again: to the extent something untoward is happening here, it’s on the part of Candies, not Palin. But she is, quite literally, the face of the organization.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jay says:

    As soon as I saw the name ‘Lee Fang’, I knew it was worth looking into further because he’s as credible as a used car salesman.

    All I had to do was look at The Candie’s Foundation website to see the following:

    “We are an operating foundation rather than a grant-making foundation. The foundation develops and runs communication campaigns to raise awareness about, and motivate teens to prevent, teen pregnancy.”

    So it is obvious their focus is on ad campaigns not grants. One could still argue whether or not Palin should be making that kind of money, but unsurprisingly, Fang frames the issue dishonestly.

  2. James Joyner says:


    Even by that standard, though, they paid Palin more than they spent on advertising and grants. And that’s assuming that the cost for the Palin-Situation ad didn’t include monies pad to Palin and Jersey boy.

  3. narciso says:

    Now of course, they could take it up with the foundation, but you know Jay that’s not the point of the exercise, that this comes from Rachel Del ‘Oro, via a Trig Truther site, like Palin Gates,

  4. Whenever I see a charity where overhead is higher than what they actually spend on their supposed cause is, I get suspicious. This one smells fishy regardless of whether someone named Palin is involved

  5. narciso says:

    They skipped past the 11,000,000 million dollar compensation, for the directors, and the tripling of donations, to make their point.

  6. jwest says:


    Being charitable here, maybe you should ignore what left wing websites say and read the information on the tax return yourself.

    Once you’ve done that, come back with an update that shows that the $165K is what was paid to air the ads, which is separate from Bristol’s compensation.


  7. jwest says:

    Also, in the follow-up comments, let’s try to get this right.

    First, the directors are working for free. No compensation was paid to any of them. Their overhead consists of a small accounting fee.

    Is this still smelling fishy, Doug?

  8. jwest says:

    To James and Doug,

    Here’s an idea for an OTB article.

    Lee Fang of Think Progress took a portion of their opposition research against Palin and twisted it into an article designed to mislead the weak-minded liberals (and a few select libertarians) into believing something “fishy” was going on.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to readers to learn how often Think Progress (and it’s overlord, Media Matters) does this to their easily fooled audience? Also, isn’t the arrogance of Lee Fang a topic for great follow-up article? Here’s a guy who not only blatantly lied, but linked to the evidence that shows he’s lying, knowing that people who regularly read him are either too lazy or too stupid to find the truth.

    Just thought I’d toss these ideas out for your next editorial meeting.

  9. By commercial, of course, you mean the idiotic piece that Palin did with “The Situation” which was the subject of widespread ridicule for its utter absurdity.

    If I ran that charity, I’d be embarrassed to tell my donors I’d wasted their money on that dreck.

  10. anjin-san says:

    Again, that’s not in any way Bristol Palin’s responsibility

    So if someone lends their name and reputation to a organization and takes a quarter of a million dollars in return, they have no responsibility to find out what they do first?

    This business of explaining why “personal responsibility” does not apply to conservatives is turning into a full time gig for you James…

  11. wr says:

    The right wing money train showers money on a semi-literate whose only claim to fame — aside from her money-grubbing mother — is that she got knocked up as a teenager in order to promote abstinence. So of course here comes jwest to the rescue, screaming about how mean and unfair it is to actually report that this ludicrous “foundation” seemingly exists only as a slush fund for right wing lowlifes.

    Although by the speed and ferocity with which the righties jumped all over this, I have to wonder what they’re scared we’ll find out…

  12. Contracts says:

    So the lesson that I’m taking away from this is that teenage girls should get themselves pregnant. Thanks, Bristol Palin!

  13. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: She was 19 when they hired her and 20 now. They offered her a quarter mil to do some ads promoting responsibility. I hardly expect her to demand an audit of their books before agreeing. Hell, I’d do ads for them for, say, $100k. $150,000 if The Situation is involved.

  14. jwest says:

    From the tax form:

    Year of formation – 2001

    Using this bit of information and the powers of logic and reason, we can deduce that the Candies Foundation was started long before the evil right wing thought of funneling money to Bristol Palin. Perhaps they didn’t have Bristol in mind at the onset. Maybe these people just wanted to have something in place if and when the daughter of a conservative had a child out of wedlock. We’ll need to wait for WR’s next brilliant analysis for the answer.

    To continue from the form: Briefly describe the organization’s mission:

    To educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives.

    Sounds like exactly what they did. So, let’s try to sum up for the benefit of anjin-san, WR and other less-than-informed individuals.

    The Candies Foundation, formed to “… educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives.”, run by a group of people who take no compensation, does exactly what it was formed to do by hiring the most famous pregnant teen celebrity to do a PSA.

    So far, everything is fine. No story, unless someone has an envy-fueled problem with how much money someone makes. But here is where things take a turn for the worst. A left-wing website funded by George Soros takes this innocent information and twists it into a story that even supposedly educated individuals find “fishy”. No problem here, that is what the writers at Think Progress are paid to do.

    The tragedy occurs when a middle of the road political website picks up the story, then uncritically reprints the misleading information without confirming even the basic premise.

    Hang your collective heads in shame, OTB.

  15. James Joyner says:

    @jwest: They’re a nonprofit “educational” organization dedicated to educating people about teen pregnancy whose biggest single expenditure is giving money to a pregnant teen. They’ve spent far less on their mission than they have on Palin. That doesn’t strike you as “fishy”?

  16. AsiaWasBetterWithoutSteveHowe says:

    Gotta love the Palinistas who still see the starbursts daily. Man, are they fast or what?

    Don’t you dare speak ill of their object of desire, ever! They will be on you like flies on a pile of moose poop.

  17. jwest says:


    Considering the stated mission of the foundation is:

    To educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives.

    It seems that they did exactly what they were formed to do.

    If your problem is with the amount of the compensation, let’s explore what a fair amount would be. Take the hypothetical scenario of a foundation set up with a mission statement that reads:

    “To educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of oral cold sores brought on by experimental homosexual contact through semi-celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives.”

    By coincidence, they find an author at a semi-influential political website who has such a cold sore brought on by a single incident with a roommate while this person was attending law school. What would you say is the correct amount of money this person should receive to be the poster boy for the ad campaign?

  18. wr says:

    jwest — If their mission is “To educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives,” then why would they hire a spokesmodel whose every quoted utterance on the question of her pregnancy has been to reinforce her happiness with motherhood? What are the devestating consequences? Bristol’s only claim to fame is that she got knocked up as a teen, and the devestating consequences are that she got a gig on Dancing with the Stars and a gift of a quarter million dollars from this absurd foundation.

    What’s her message going to be — “Girls, don’t get pregnant, because you could end up like me, rich and famous even though I’ve never demonstrated a shred of talent in any area”? Or maybe it’s “If you’re going to get pregnant, make sure you’re connected to the right wing money funnel, because they’ll take care of you. If your mom isn’t paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to give speeches whining about how her taxes are too high, don’t even think of having sex.”

    Something like that?

  19. jwest says:


    I’m just guessing here, but I think their message may be something like:

    “I never thought I would be a statistic. More than 750,000 teenage girls will become pregnant this year”

    Still shooting in the dark, with no way of knowing what they will actually do, but I’ll bet they picture Bristol in something less than a evening gown with a concerned look on her face, instead of in a bikini standing next to a new Ferrari.

    But who knows. Maybe we’ll need to wait and see.

    As an aside, don’t you ever get mad when someone deliberately misinforms you, thinking that you’re too stupid to know the truth? Also, doesn’t unfairness and injustice, regardless who it’s directed against, make you want to correct the record?

  20. BWilliamson says:


    You keep repeating your one point, with gratuitous insults tossed in, over and over. Everyone gets’ your point. It is a point, just not as much of a point as you are convinced it is.

  21. jwest says:


    Sometimes, a point needs to be repeated for the benefit of those who have trouble grasping the point.

    If you have information or some insight into why anyone should view the Think Progress article as something other than an outright lie, perhaps you could share it here.

    This is an exercise in intellectual honesty. Are you for that or against it?

  22. wr says:

    “I never thought I would be a statistic. But it happened to me. One day I was just another white trash loser in Alaska. Then I got knocked up, and now I’m a huge celebrity because of it. More than 750,000 teenage girls will become pregnant this year. Maybe they’ll all become rich celebrities like me. God knows this didn’t happen because I have any talent. And jwest insists this isn’t just a way to funnel more money to my grifter mother, so that can’t be it. I guess it really is a good thing to get pregnant when you’re still in high school.”

    Nope, still not seeing the message.

  23. mantis says:

    Considering the stated mission of the foundation is:

    To educate America’s youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives.

    I know Dancing with the Stars is a terrible show, but I think there can be more devastating consequences of teen pregnancy.

  24. Alanmt says:

    Ugh. Disgusting.

    Perhaps Bristol could have Willow issue a short written public quasi-apology for her, quid pro quo for her defense in that little facebook f*ggot episode.

    I predict a casual mention of how this is just another example of her family being unfairly victimized by Sarah Palin to Bill O’Reilly in 5 days.

  25. jwest says:

    Perhaps James is too busy attending to the multiple tasks associated with running a semi-influential political website to issue an update and condemnation of the Think Progress hack job on Bristol Palin and the Candies Foundation.

    Let me help by offering this draft of a statement I’m certain James would write given the time.

    “Update: On further examination, the editorial staff of Outside the Beltway has determined that the linked article by Lee Fang of Think Progress was skewed in such a fashion as to intentionally mislead readers into believing Bristol Palin, the Candies Foundation or both were engaged in questionable activity. OTB has reviewed the information and finds that only a concerted effort to deceive readers explains the misinformation put forth by Fang and Think Progress.”

    “As a patriotic website, we condemn the Soros-financed Think Progress and the intellectual criminal, Lee Fang, with the intensity of a thousand burning suns. Outside the Beltway will continue to stand for Truth, Justice and the American Way.”

    James, feel free to punch this up if it fails to capture your much deserved moral outrage at a fellow website and editor that has sullied the internet with partisan lies.

  26. anjin-san says:

    James… last time I checked, 19 is a legal adult. Pretty sure that makes one responsible for their decisions. As to your other point, what exactly are you saying? Cause it sounds a little like “screw integrity, look at all that cash”.

  27. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san :

    What percentage of 19-year-olds would think twice about taking $260,000 to make some ads for a cause they believed in? How many Americans, period? It’s not like she’s taking food from the hungry or medicine from cancer patients.

    I am, however, highly dubious of the non-profit status of Candies Foundation.

  28. jwest says:

    “I am, however, highly dubious of the non-profit status of Candies Foundation.”

    You have access to their tax return, you’ve seen their mission, you’ve seen the type of campaign they put out, you’ve seen that no one takes a salary, there isn’t any overt political messaging, it appears to be foundation set up by people genuinely concerned with reducing teenage pregnancies.

    What, pray tell, makes you “highly dubious” of their non-profit status?

    If you would like, compare and contrast with a 501c3 charitable group that you’ve never questioned previously, like Media Matters.

  29. anjin-san says:


    I think if it is a cause I believed in, I do the ads for free and perhaps throw a few bucks in to the kitty as well. When I do work for non profits I believe in, I always skip the part where I send them a bill.

  30. James Joyner says:

    anjin: Clearly, the Palins are in it for the cash. And, frankly, I’m happy to take cash from those offering so long as I don’t have to compromise principles to get it.

  31. wr says:

    “What percentage of 19-year-olds would think twice about taking $260,000 to make some ads for a cause they believed in? How many Americans, period? ”

    For a quarter of a million, how many would think twice if it was a cause they didn’t believe in?

  32. wr says:

    ” it appears to be foundation set up by people genuinely concerned with reducing teenage pregnancies”

    Unless you’ve actually seen the ads for the products Candies makes. Then it appears to be a way to appease right-wing Christians who might be appalled at the sexualization of teenagers, but can easily be bought off with an appeal to “abstinence.” And what better way to buy off a Tea Partier than shovelling money at a Palin? It certainly worked with jwest!

  33. jwest says:

    Once again, with gusto, in the hope that it triggers a modicum of integrity and a desire to defend the truth:

    “The tragedy occurs when a middle of the road political website picks up the story, then uncritically reprints the misleading information without confirming even the basic premise.”

    Hang your collective heads in shame, OTB.

  34. anjin-san says:

    > Hang your collective heads in shame, OTB.

    Of course when the south honors the confederacy, and by extension, slavery, well there is no shame in that. Thank goodness jwest keeps things in perspective.