Tim Pawlenty: How to get rich by running for president for three months
Tim Pawlenty: Sad, but rich.
Anyone feeling bad for Tim Pawlenty in the days since he pulled out of the presidential race -- well, don't.
Pawlenty turned his bid for the Republican nomination into a pretty lucrative side gig for the first half of 2011, according to financial disclosure forms released yesterday. Along with his $121,000 salary as Governor of Minnesota, T-Paw reported almost $600,000 in post-governor compensation through June 9 of this year.
About $250,000 of that came from speaking engagements, but the majority came from Pawlenty's deal to write a book, "Courage to Stand." The book didn't exactly fly off the shelves, and Pawlenty's speeches, apparently, didn't ignite the national interest. No matter. Pawlenty got paid, and well, for a presidential campaign that lasted 84 glorious days.
Pawlenty got $342,000 in royalty payments from Tyndale House Publishers, a small, faith-based publishing house out of Illinois. In order to "write" the book, T-Paw worked with Mark Dagostino, whose previous work includes a collaboration credit on "My Life Outside the Ring," the memoirs of Hulk Hogan.
The book bombed, selling fewer than 5,000 copies in its first week. It's hard to imagine how the book didn't catch on, with passages like this:
I love hockey. It's a great disappointment that the older I get, the less time I have to play. I realize I'm fifty now, and hockey is not exactly tennis or golf. Time marches on, and I'm not sure how many more years my body will be able to take the game. With any luck, I'm hoping I can keep playing hockey for another ten or fifteen years.
Reports of the lack of success for the book, which came out in mid-January, seem to have driven Pawlenty to try to bolster its success a bit with political money. On January 31, Pawlenty's Freedom First political action committee spent $28,549 at Barnes & Noble for something labeled "Publications," according to Federal Election Commission Reports.
The expense is not fully explained, but Pawlenty might have been following a trick from Sarah Palin, who used $47,000 in SarahPAC money to buy copies of her own book.
Pawlenty also got his travel in January, February and March reimbursed by Tyndale House. Freedom First received more than $32,000 from Tyndale for "Travel," according to FEC records.
T-Paw's $342,000 from Tyndale is described as "royalty payments," but is undated, so it's unclear how much it was an advance and how much was tithed to book sales, which have remained stagnant. On the Amazon.com bestseller list, "Courage to Stand" is ranked No. 231,049 -- not only well behind books from Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, but also trailing "To Save America," by the hugely unpopular Newt Gingrich (ranked 129,131) and No. 168,842, "It Takes a Family," by Rick Santorum, who can hardly even read.
As for the speaking engagements, Pawlenty is on contract with Leading Authorities, Inc., a conservative booking agency. Between January and June, he gave 10 speeches for LAI at about $24,000 a pop. But be careful: Even after one speech was canceled in the spring, Pawlenty got $9,375 for his trouble.
Pawlenty's surely got some regrets that his presidential campaign didn't work out, but it hasn't been a bad year for him financially. When pressed in recent days about what he wants to do next, Pawlenty hasn't given much of an answer, but he did rule out running against Amy Klobuchar for a U.S. Senate seat in 2012.
Pawlenty's logic makes a bit of sense. He's got a bit of dough to live off of for now. Might as well wait until 2016 rolls around, and get back into the running for president business.
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