The foundation arm of a cash-strapped California public university paid Sarah Palin $75,000 to speak at a 50th anniversary gala, officials said Friday.
School officials said it raised more than $207,000 for the university, making it the most successful fundraiser in campus history.
Officials refused to divulge the terms of her contract or her speaking fee until Friday.
Additional details only came to light after students fished part of what appeared to be Palin's contract from a rubbish bin. That prompted California Attorney General Jerry Brown to launch an investigation into the finances of the university's foundation arm and allegations that the nonprofit violated public disclosure laws.
The material recovered by the students detailed perks such as first-class airfare for two and deluxe hotel accommodations. The school's foundation said those expenses amounted to $2,500.
The funds raised by the gala were intended to help pay for scholarships and a variety of pressing campus needs, which the foundation was to determine after consulting with university officials.
State Senator Leland Lee has the following to see about the dollar release:
"The public deserved this information months ago. Instead a backroom deal was cooked up by CSU executives, and students were shut out. This is just the latest contradiction by Stanislaus administrators – first they claim they can’t disclose the Palin speaking fee because of a contract term and now they announce it; first they claim they have no documents pertaining to her visit and then hundreds of documents surface in a university Dumpster; first they claim that university officials never had the contract and then erroneously claim it was stolen from their offices. The public has still not been told how much university personnel were used in the planning and implementation of this event. Certainly tens of thousands of dollars were spent on public employee salaries and benefits, which severely dips into the proceeds reported by the university. Unfortunately, this is just another example of why we need greater transparency at our public universities."
And beyond the money, here is a list of some of the perks in the contract, released earlier this year by Sen. Yee:
- Round-trip, first class commercial air travel for two between Anchorage, Alaska and event city
- The contract also included other stipulations regarding autographs, photographs, press releases, advertising, recording, lighting, bottled water and "bendable straws."
- If the university chooses to use a private jet, "the Speaker, their traveling party and the plane crew will be the only passengers."
- Ground transportation in both the originating city and the event city "will be by SUV(s) from a professionally licensed and insured car service."
- security arrangements as deemed necessary by [Washington Speakers Bureau] and the Speaker.
- Accommodations are to include "a one-bedroom suite and two single rooms in a deluxe hotel" as well as a "laptop computer and printer (fully stocked with paper) and high speed internet" and "all meals and incidentals."
- For Q&A, the questions are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened and a designated representative shall ask questions directly of the Speaker.