Palin-Felling Ethics Charges Not Really That Onerous, Actually

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As confusing as her original statement was, in the days following Sarah Palin's surprising announcement that she was stepping down as Alaska governor, it became pretty clear that she was trying to pin her decision on a string of ethics charges. She claimed the (almost entirely debunked) charges were costing the state "millions of dollars" and "countless, countless hours" of wasted work. But now that claim is getting more closely examined, and while it does seem like much time was devoted to the fifteen-odd charges, not that much more money was spent than would usually be spent on in-house lawyers. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the staffers who worked on those issues were full-time, and would have been paid no matter what they were doing. "Is it a check that we wrote? No," said Sharon Leighow, a Palin spokeswoman. "But is it staff hours, yes." All in all, Palin's office estimated that $1.9 million of their time was devoted to the charges. Another spokesman told the Plum Line that the complaints were really "just distracting them from other duties."

Of course, it's not Sarah Palin herself who was dealing with the charges and the related busywork. It must have been distracting to have to worry about them, sure, but the difficulty her office is having explaining exactly why the charges were so insurmountable suggests they weren't the only reason.

And just as we're learning all of this, another explanation became handy this morning, straight from the mouth of a babe. Sarah Palin just wanted to get right to the business of making money with book deals and speaking engagements, or so says Levi "Sex on Skates" Johnston, who fathered her grandson. "I think the big deal was the book," he told the AP. "That was millions of dollars." Johnston, who lived with the Palin family for a couple of months after the election, claims Palin frequently commented on how great it would be to take advantage of high-paying reality-show and book deals that were being offered to her.

Of course, ol' Levi said this at a press conference his lawyer assembled "because Alaskans want to know why Palin has decided to resign." Why the young man, who hasn't spoken to the Alaska governor in months, felt that was necessary we don't know. But applying the same logic that he applied to her, we're guessing it might have to do with high-paying reality-show and book deals that he'd like to get going on.

Related: Read about Levi's reality-show dreams and his last trip to the city in our sit-down conversation with him, from this week's New York. Also, is Palin a narcissist? Emily Nussbaum examines the charge in next week's issue, online now.