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California Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, wants to know how much Cal State Stanislaus is paying Sarah Palin for a visit to its Turlock-area campus.
The former Alaska governor and failed vice presidential candidate is the scheduled guest of honor at a university gala in June. Yee on Monday asked a California State University foundation to provide the details of a compensation package promised to the politician turned TV star.
Yee wants to know the amount and nature of any compensation being awarded to Palin. She commands speaking fees as high as $100,000.
Yee has tried to pass legislation that would require foundations to disclose their expenses and contracts. Our friends at the Modesto Bee tell us CSUS President Hamid Shirvani is chairman of the foundation board but it is technically a private entity, separate from the school and therefore, not subject to the government laws that require schools to disclose that kind of information.
Last week, the nonprofit foundation announced that Palin would be the featured speaker at CSU Stanislaus' 50th anniversary celebration on June 25. Tickets to the black-tie fundraiser, which the foundation is hosting, cost $500.
The San Francisco lawmaker is not the only one upset about Palin's planned visit. A student group is organizing a protest and a professor has started a Facebook group called "Sarah Palin, Terrible Choice for 50th Anniversary of CSU Stanislaus." With just over 900 members, the group has far fewer members than Palin's fan page.
Matt Swanson, president of the foundation's board of directors, said the foundation's contract with Palin prevented him from revealing any compensation details.
"I'm aware of it," he said of Yee's request. "But there's not going to be any information we can send him. We're bound by the contract we're in."
The university is located in the Central Valley farming town of Turlock, about 90 miles south of Sacramento