There’s a beautiful, almost literary, irony to the situation in which Bristol Palin finds herself.
As the face of a teen pregnancy prevention nonprofit called the Candie’s Foundation, she’s been charged with going around the country and reminding teenagers that sex can lead to pregnancy which can lead to problems. The only hitch is that being an unwed mother has been the greatest thing that’s ever happened to her in terms of fame, and after you read this story, fortune as well. Talk about mixed messages.
Newly released tax documents from 2009 show Palin earned more than $262,000 for her role in “helping raise awareness for teen pregnancy prevention,” according to the Associated Press. Well, this is America, and we’re all entitled to the Cash Grab, nonprofit or otherwise, right? The hitch came after ThinkProgress examined the filing closer and revealed “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.”
In other words, the nonprofit paid Palin seven times what it spent on actual teen pregnancy prevention.
To be fair, many nonprofits are run by people who pay celebrities and friends exorbitant salaries and don’t actually care about the stated mission of the organization. This is certainly not unique to the Candie’s Foundation, and it’s certainly not unique to Republicans. Palin is not alone in this barely legal grift.
In fact, 2008 report highlighted by the New York Times showed that fraud, embezzlement and theft from nonprofits ran roughly “$40 billion for 2006, or some 13 percent of the roughly $300 billion given to charity that year.” That’s astronomical when you consider these are supposed to be charitable donations.
The other mitigating factor here is that Palin is the foundation’s spokesperson. This organization is paying her to raise awareness of teen pregnancy. She’s doing just that. Now, she (and they) are encouraging a foolhardy nation that abstinence is the best policy, but that’s this foundation’s mission, and that’s what they’re paying her to do. And she’s doing it. So in some respects, their money seems well spent.
Candie’s also spent $165,000 on advertising to bring us this message from Palin and The Situation, and because of our nation’s fixation with the Palins and Jersey Shore, it went viral in a hurry. That $165K turned into free media. Again, bringing Palin on board seems like a win for the foundation.
Or you can look at it the harshest way possible: It’s just another in a long line of culture war hypocrites making bank off the people wearing the biggest blinders on the market.