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Tea party dispute spotlights Sarah Palin's speaking fees

Sarah Palin addresses attendees of the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville last month. On her left hand are handwritten notes. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

When the Washington Speakers Bureau exclusively signed Sarah Palin last fall, it expected to get a lot of attention, but a new defamation lawsuit between battling conservatives is bringing more than it bargained for.

The prestigious booking agency ("Connecting with the World's Greatest Minds") boasts a stable of A-listers who command big bucks for speeches around the globe, including George and Laura Bush (and daughter Jenna), Tony Blair, Katie Couric, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and many more. When Palin signed a deal in September, she began sifting through 1,000 speaking requests.

Palin and the company have repeatedly refused to disclose her fees, but a suit filed last week by Tennessee businessman Bill Hemrick against Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips is lifting the veil on her sky-high price tag. Phillips wanted Palin as the keynote speaker for February's tea party convention and asked millionaire Hemrick for $25,000 as a partial deposit for Palin's $100,000 contract. Hemrick agreed, according to the suit, in the belief that the for-profit Tea Party Nation would help with his own political action committee.

After Palin was booked, the two men had a falling-out -- Phillips repaid Hemrick's money but banned him from the convention. Now, Hemrick is suing for $500,000 in damages, claiming Phillips used his cash, acted in bad faith and damaged his reputation. Tea Party Nation spokeswoman Sherry Phillips said Washington Speakers Bureau "approved" Hemrick as a lending source, but she had no further comment.

"My client is not in the business of being a lender or financier," Hemrick's lawyer Phillip Jones told us Tuesday. "He only agreed to provide financial assistance to Mr. Phillips because he thought it was part of a larger reciprocal relationship to support certain common beliefs."

Washington Speakers Bureau did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

By The Reliable Source  |  March 31, 2010; 1:03 AM ET
Categories:  Politics  
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And that's exactly how this crowd has and will run government if they every get back in power - government for their individual profit, government for their friends' individual profit unless it interferes with government for their individual profit, but most of all....COMPLETELY DISFUNCTIONAL!

p.s. Sarah Palin is voting booth poison!!!!

Posted by: gradya3 | March 30, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow, so that means Palin's getting paid to stand with McCain and give everyone her cutsy "hopey-changey" schtick? All for the love of a buck she'll stand next to a man that had men that tried to basically rope her in and keep her quiet. Typical. Does the Tea Baggers know about this? I guess they do now.

Posted by: Obamabeliever | March 30, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad the demoncrats are in power. They do not care about money or power. No, their only thought from the time they get up to their beddyby, is how can I take money from people and give to people like illegal aliens, so I can buy votes. What is that retched smell from the left?

Posted by: pcstench | March 30, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Yup! Sarah just a regular gal. Skins her own game, has teenage daughter with a child and gets 100K for talkin' all regular to folks.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 31, 2010 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Public Speaking is a business like everything else. Next to fees charged by
Washington D.C. lawyers 100K is a drop in the bucket. Does the altruistic left truly believe that Bill Clinton or any of his administration on the talk circuit appear for free? Why are you all so afraid of Sarah Palin - she's not that effective a public speaker folksy or otherwise and probably won't run for further office and why should she? As a motivational speaker she can out earn the President. Of course when the Big O administration is long forgotten the Obamas, Clintons, Emmanuels et al will most certainly lecture without charge or give to the poor. Give us a break! There are those in this administration who haven't paid their taxes in years, and those whose date nights cost more than most speakers fees in Air force I costs to the tax payers - nail them instead and please, please stop
involving Ms Palin's children in your misguided comments. She's a teenage, single Mom with more guts than most politicians.

Posted by: Malwolf1 | March 31, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

How crazy are the tea baggers? Just watch:

Posted by: permagrin | March 31, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Love it! Love it! Love it! Sarah Palin is laughing all the way to the bank along with Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, etc. When are some of those being duped going to see the light? And when are we going to hear anything about Rush packing up for Costa Rico?

Posted by: withersb | March 31, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Speakers Bureau touts itself as "Connecting with the World's Greatest Minds" and then books Sarah Palin?! Truth in advertising laws might let them continue to claim "Connecting with the World's Biggest Mouths," but "greatest minds" ... Nope. Not even close.

Posted by: alert4jsw | March 31, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

check this: Palin said that tea baggers should stop cars with Obama stickers on them and ask "how's that hopey changey thing workin' out for ya?"

here is a video of how I think this will play out

Posted by: nineteen80snore | March 31, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Subject: Fwd GOP strip-club scandal taints party

Looks like a group of young Republicans got caught with their pants down (so to speak) or at least looking at topless women:

“…financial disclosure statement included a $1,946 reimbursement to a California consultant for “meals” at the risqué nightclub. The financial report also disclosed the party had spent $17,514 for private jets, $12,691 on limousines, and $19,016 at the posh W Hotel in Washington.”

Did they fly from Washington to the Los Angeles strip club just to party?

Wait until they get back to Washington to spend tax payers dollars!

Posted by: MyBrat2u | March 31, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Another neocon sellout pretending to be a maverick. Sarah, why aren't you pushing to audit the Federal Reserve? How about ending our trillion-dollar empire of 700 military bases in 130 foreign countries?

Posted by: MrTracker | April 1, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

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