Palin documents emerge from the university

By: Chad Bellani | 5/19/10

The President's Office of California State University, Stanislaus, complying with a Public Records Act request in connection with Sarah Palin's upcoming speaking engagement, announced that it has assembled, as of May 6, more than 800-900 pages of pertinent documents and that it is still searching for more.

Palin will be the guest of honor speaker on June 25th for the CSU Stanislaus 50th anniversary gala. A Public Records Act request for documents related to Palin's appearance was subsequently jointly filed by Senator Leland Yee (D, San Francisco) and Californians Aware.

The May 6th announcement by President Shirvani's office prompted Senator Yee to demand that CSU Chancellor Charles Reed hold the campus administration at Stanislaus accountable.

On April 9th, a portion of her contract was produced, along with other shredded documents allegedly pertaining to the Gala, by two CSU Stanislaus students, Ashli Briggs and Alicia Lewis. Briggs and Lewis claim they found the material in a dumpster outside the Mary Stuart Rogers building on campus, on what was a campus furlough day.

Earlier that week Senator Yee and Californians Aware were denied those documents on the grounds that they did not exist. Later, after Yee released evidence to the contrary, the CSU Stanislaus Foundation claimed that it could not release the documents due to a confidentiality stipulation in Palin's contract.

However, a 2001 court case involving a foundation at Fresno State University may contradict this claim. The Superior Court ruling specifically requires foundation documents to be made public when they are in the possession of the university itself.

On April 6th, Yee called for an investigation to be conducted for misappropriation of state funds. The investigation was headed by Attorney General Jerry Brown.

The investigation was being conducted to ensure that no taxpayer money was being used to fund the event. Shirvani's office released a statement on April 16th stating that both the university and gala organizers are complying with the suit filed by Californians Aware.

On April 19th, Yee stated that he believed that millions of dollars in public funds are being used to run the foundation that is hosting the Turlock University's 50th anniversary gala.

Yee said that in 2009, more than $1.5 million in taxpayer money went to salaries of staff and board members of the foundation.