Palins Fend Off Drug Allegations

By Will Godfrey 08/09/11

The Tea Party's First Family is reeling from sex and drug accusations to be published in Playboy.

Sarah Palin, Mercede Johnston and Baby
Photo via

Wasilla, Alaska, is going to get really heated when the August issue of Playboy comes out this week. The magazine features a no-holds-barred photo shoot with Mercede Johnston, whose brother Levi Johnston fathered Bristol Palin's child Tripp. In a blistering interview accompanying the shoot, Mercede alleges that Sarah Palin's son Track was a drug addict. “He did Oxycontin but mostly cocaine," says the 19-year-old, who briefly dated him. She goes on to allege that the former Alaska Governor pushed her troubled son to join the military so he wouldn't ruin her political prospects: "He didn’t choose to go into the army; he went there because his mom made him, to get him out of the way.” Track enlisted in late 2007, well before John McCain chose Palin as his running-mate for the 2008 presidential election.

Johnston also claims that teen-mom Bristol Palin,  now an "ambassador" for sexual abstinence, has indulged in plenty of vices, including “stealing her parents' credit cards to order clothes," "chasing after men and partying” and sending nude pictures of herself to her admirers. Mercede, who strips for Playboy's August 12 issue, apparently decided to spare her fans the trouble. (Her brother Levi stripped for Playgirl last year.) The Playboy story goes on to recount much sketchier allegations against Sarah Palin, who is still debating a presidential run. The author cites an anonymous source who "makes the incredible claim to have snorted coke with [Sarah] at the Mug Shot [a local bar] and points to the very spot on the bar where said lines were cut up.” While it's kind of difficult to imagine Sarah Palin snorting coke off a bar, the allegations about Track do have some precedent. The National Enquirer made similar claims about his addiction to Oxycontin and cocaine use in 2008. Mercede and Levi's mother Sherry Johnston is currently serving a three-year sentence under house arrest, after being convicted of dealing Oxycontin in 2009.

The drug-use allegations against Track Palin come at what some might consider an inopportune moment: His bride of three months, Britta Hanson, gave birth to a daughter last weekend, according to author Joe McGinniss, whose much-anticipated tell-all about Palin, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, will published by Crown in September. In his blog about Palin, McGinniss reports that the Tea Party darling has made no comment on the arrival of the newborn, named Kyla Grace Palin, because war vet Track and Britta, a nursing student, have refused to sell photos of the baby to the media. "I'd like to think that these young parents have refused to let [Palin] prostitute their daughter. Given how Sarah pimped Trigg and Bristol is pimping Tripp, I can only wish them luck swimming upstream," McGinniss writes.

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.