Cal Stanislaus Must Release Palin Speech Contract: Judge

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    NEWSLETTERS

    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gestures while giving her resignation speech in Fairbanks, Alaska. A year after her abrupt resignation as Alaska governor, Palin has evolved into a political personality writ large, commanding weeks of headlines for a single Facebook observation.

    A group that sued over documents related to a fundraiser appearance by Sarah Palin at a California university claimed victory Wednesday in a judge's ruling.

    The open-government group Californians Aware said it received a ruling in the mail by Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Roger Beauchesne ordering California State University, Stanislaus to release Palin's contract along with any documents related to the use of university property or services during her June 25 visit.

    The judge determined the university's failure to produce the requested documents constituted a violation of its obligations under the California Public Records Act, CalAware said in a news release.

    "This ruling upholds California citizens' right to maintain oversight and control of their government," CalAware said.

    CSU spokeswoman Claudia Keith said Wednesday the university had not yet seen the ruling.

    "If it is as it has been relayed to me, it's certainly perplexing how the judge could come to that decision," she said. "But if that's what it says, we would abide by that."

    CalAware filed a lawsuit in April after CSU Stanislaus refused to disclose the details of Palin's contract.

    The university has said negotiations with Palin were handled by its nonprofit foundation, which is not subject to the same public records requirements that apply to California's higher education institutions.

    In July, the foundation revealed it had paid the former Alaska governor $75,000 for her 40-minute speech.

    State Sen. Leland Yee, who has been an outspoken critic of CSU Stanislaus, said reports of Beauchesne's ruling were welcome news.

    "This is a great day for transparency and accountability, but also a sad day for the university," the San Francisco Democrat said. "I hope this case is a lesson now for every single university campus that there is a California Public Records Act that you are responsible for."