Thursday, August 26, 2010

University must release Palin contract

California State University at Stanislaus and its private foundation violated public records laws and will have to release the speakers contract with Sarah Palin they had tried to keep secret, a judge has ruled.

The details of Palin's contract to speak at a June 25 fundraiser for the foundation became national news last spring after foundation officials refused to tell state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, how much Palin would be paid.

Yee has been trying to change a state law that shields campus foundations from public scrutiny.

The Palin story grew more bizarre in April after students found discarded pieces of the secret contract in a Dumpster on the property of the public university - after university officials told Yee and CalAware, an open-government group, that they didn't have any of Palin-related documents.

CalAware sued, and in May, the foundation released hundreds of pages of Palin-related paperwork - but not the contract. Among them were e-mails showing that Charles Reed, chancellor of the 23-campus CSU system, favored suppressing the contract to avoid news stories about its contents.

That e-mail, and the finding that the university did possess Palin documents, led Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger Beauchesne to order the Turlock campus to release Palin's contract

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