Nonprofit defends payment to Bristol Palin

Wed Apr 6, 2011 11:01pm EDT
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By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The head of a nonprofit group against teen pregnancy on Wednesday defended the $332,500 his organization paid Bristol Palin over a two-year period to advocate for sexual abstinence.

"Bristol did a tremendous amount of work for us -- many, many days and weeks," said Neil Cole, founder of the nonprofit Candie's Foundation.

Bristol Palin, the 20-year old daughter of former Alaska Governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, was paid $262,500 by Candie's Foundation for her work in 2009, which was detailed in financial statements from the nonprofit organization.

In 2010, when her schedule was filled with other commitments including a high-profile run on ABC television show "Dancing with the Stars," she was paid a lesser amount of $70,000, a spokeswoman said on behalf of the nonprofit.

Bristol Palin, then 18, was pregnant during the 2008 presidential campaign and her son was born in the month after the election. She and the boy's father, Levi Johnston, had a much-publicized breakup.

The New York-based foundation is an offshoot of the fashion brand Candie's, which is part of Iconix Brand Group Inc. Cole is chairman, CEO and president of Iconix.

Sarah Palin has generated controversy almost from the moment 2008 Republican presidential contender Sen. John McCain named her as his running mate, and Cole said that applies to Bristol Palin also, which helps his organization.

"She is such a lightning rod," Cole said. "Everyone is familiar with the Palins, and Bristol turned out to be, as someone said today, the gift that keeps on giving."   Continued...