TURLOCK, CA - Officials at California State University, Stanislaus have issued a response to Attorney General Jerry Brown's announcement of an investigation by his office into how the university is paying for Sarah Palin to speak at a June fundraiser and how a document related to the Palin contract reportedly ended up in a dumpster.
The controversy began in March when St. Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, requested university information on how the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor was being paid. Palin's speaking fee can reach up to $100,000.
University President Hamid Shirvani said the CSU Stanislaus Foundation, which is putting on the June 25 gala, previously responded to the Public Records Act request of a copy of the contract and Palin's fee by stating that "as a 501c3 foundation, it (the foundation) is not subject to the Public Records act and for good reason. The Washington Speakers Bureau contract includes a confidentiality clause that the Foundation cannot breach even if it wanted to."
Shirvani went on to add, "every dime used to pay for this gala is new, privately-raised money" and the foundation was not using any public funds for the event.
As for the allegation that an addendum to Palin's contract detailing the terms of the contract but not her fee was deliberately dumped, Russ Giambelluca, the university's Vice President of Business and Finance, said, "No one was instructed to destroy vital information, and no one did."
The addendum Yee offered at a Tuesday news conference was the sole document missing from the foundation executive director's private recycling bin, the university determined. Campus police were investigating the circumstances of how it ended up from Susan Gajic-Bruyea's recycling bin into a campus dumpster, said university spokeswoman Eve Hightower.
The Palin event is a $500-a-plate fundraiser from which the university expects to raise between $100,000 and $200,000, Shirvani said. He said the money will go toward students' education and it was a good thing for the university.