Obama secures $500,000 book advance

March 19, 2009 at 9:10 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama secured a $500,000 advance for a children's book project five days before taking office, a financial disclosure report revealed.

Ken Gross, a former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, said there doesn't appear to be any rules that would bar Obama from signing book deals while in the White House, The Washington Times reported Thursday. Other analysts said they didn't know of a president ever signing a book deal upon entering the White House.

A Senate financial disclosure form filed Tuesday revealed Obama OK'd the advance Jan. 15, five days before he was sworn in as president. The advance is against royalties for an abridged version of "Dreams From My Father" for middle-school-aged children. The contract is with Crown Publishing, a division of Random House.

A White House aide said the deal had been in the pipeline for weeks and that the publisher will condense the book. The aide told the Times the publisher will receive half of the money while Obama will sign off on the final version.

The disclosure also showed Obama amended an existing deal with Crown Publishing to delay writing a non-fiction work until after he leaves office.

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