California Is Now Going To Investigate Group Behind Sarah Palin’s Contract To Speak At Cal State Stanislaus
California State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, had asked for details of Sarah Palin’s contract with Cal State Stanislaus Foundation but was told none existed. But as fortune would have it, a pair of Cal State Stanislaus students said they recovered from a Dumpster parts of the very contract that Yee had sought in a public records request, along with bags of other shredded documents.
"When we have individuals that are deceiving people and obfuscating, we are in deep trouble, our democracy is in trouble,” said Yee. Since then, Sen. Leland Yee has author a bill, SB330, which would require public university foundations to be subject to the same scrutiny as schools. “It is truly shocking and a gross violation of the public trust that such documents would be thrown away and destroyed during a pending investigation.”
The students, Alicia Lewis and Ashli Briggs, who found the supposed non-existent contract in the Dumpster, submitted the documents to the attorney general’s office Tuesday to buttress an investigation already underway into whether Cal State Stanislaus violated the California Public Records Act.
Lewis, 26, and Briggs, 23, both political science majors, said they have been active in pushing the administration to be more open about such issues as student funding, but became more actively involved once the story about Sarah Palin’s speaking engagement at a June black tie fundraiser became a campus sensation.
They said other students told them they saw employees enter the campus administration building on a furlough Friday, and watched as they emerged from the building with boxes of documents and deposit them into a Dumpster.
"We knew something was not right," said Lewis. "Who knew we’d find Sarah Palin’s contract?"
Missing in the recovered documents “the final six pages of a nine-page contract under the Washington Speakers Bureau letterhead” were details of Sarah Palin’s pay, which State Senator Yee estimated to be in the range of $100,000, given the speaker fees she has previously commanded.
Yee asserted that the documents were shredded "presumably" by university personnel on public property, and that thousands of pages of financial statements and foundation documents also found in the Dumpster showed the two to overlap.
”The linkage is absolutely intertwined,” Yee said. “It’s like having a fundraising operation in my Capitol office.”
Senator Yee denied he was targeting Cal State Stanislaus because its choice of speakers happened to be the darling of the right wing and foil for the left. Senator Yee pointed out that former president Bill Clinton did not charge for his appearance at UC Berkeley; nor did first lady Michelle Obama at her address at UC Merced. How is it that Sarah Palin expected a payment?
"The issue is not about who it is, it’s merely about openness and accountability and transparency," he said. "It just so happened that Sarah Palin was the invitee. If there were any others, we’d be going after them for the same purpose: to get them to give us information."
In the contracts in question, were additions of bendable straws, and a personal Learjet that Sarah Palin required. The contract also stipulated that she be picked up at the airport by SUV or black towncar; that her name be registered at an upscale hotel under an alias; that autographs would not be allowed; that all photographs be taken by a professional photographer; and that personal cameras, cell-phone cameras and any other recording devices are to be turned off wherever she was.
The Washington Speakers Bureau also asked for an advance list of those who intended to attend the reception with her because, “God forbid,” she would be asked any pre-programmed questions that the answers are not written on her hand.
The contract also stipulated that the Cal State Foundation provide a "tall, wooden lectern" with backlighting focused on her notes. Two unopened bottles of still water and bendable straws "are to be placed in or near the wood lectern. A representative of WSB (Washington Speakers Bureau) or the Speaker’s party will open the water at an appropriate time prior to the Speaker’s participation in the program."
State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, right, discusses the documents related to a speaking contract for former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, found in the trash bins at California State University, Stanislaus, during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, April 13, 2010. CSU, Stanislaus students Alicia Lewis, left and Ashli Briggs, right, say they were tipped off on April 9, about the administration officials attempt to get rid of documents concerning Sarah Palin's speaking appearance with the CSU Stanislaus Foundation in June.
California's attorney general says he will investigate whether a university foundation that hired Sarah Palin to give a speech has violated public disclosure laws.
Attorney General Jerry Brown said Tuesday his office was looking into the finances and actions of the California State University, Stanislaus Foundation. Attorney General Brown says the investigation is not about Sarah Palin but instead stems from allegations that the foundations had tried to shred a document related to the contractual terms of her appearance.