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Palin could make big bucks, if Alaska OKs it

The state restricts officials from some types of outside work.

November 03, 2008|Hillel Italie and Anne Sutton | Italie and Sutton are Associated Press writers

NEW YORK -- If her bid for vice president fails, Gov. Sarah Palin could almost surely use her sudden fame to obtain a lucrative book deal or high fees on the lecture circuit, or even get her own TV talk show. But Alaska law might not allow it.

A provision of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act restricts outside employment. It says: "The head of a principal executive department of the state may not accept employment for compensation outside the agency that the executive head serves."

Senior Assistant Atty. Gen. David Jones said the section likely applies to the governor but added that it's not clear what constitutes "employment."

"The intent of the statute is to make it clear these are full-time jobs," he said. "If you are a commissioner, for example, you can't be working in the private sector. But does that mean you can't go out and give a speech now and then for an honorarium? . . . I don't know that we have interpreted it for that purpose in the past."

Palin, 44, consistently draws large crowds and is considered an attractive and dynamic presence, receiving high praise for her appearance Oct. 19 on "Saturday Night Live."

She was elected governor in 2006. Her term is scheduled to run through 2010.

Publishers agree that a Palin memoir would bring her a seven-figure advance, should she be permitted to accept it.

"If she is allowed to do whatever she wants, all kinds of things are possible," says Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs, which released the bestseller "What Happened," by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

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