Brown to Investigate Palin's Perks

The speaking fee still remains a mystery

By Lori Preuitt and R. Stickney
|  Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010  |  Updated 6:39 AM PDT
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California attorney general -- and gubernatorial candidate -- Jerry Brown said he will investigate how a Cal State University charity plans to pay former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to give a speech this summer.

Palin is scheduled to speak at a June 25 gala hosted by Cal State Stanislaus's foundation  to mark the university's 50th anniversary.

"Certainly Sarah Palin has a right to give speeches, people have a right to pay her what they think," Brown said during a stop at San Diego's airport Tuesday night. "But a charity has a limited and specific mission, and the money that the charity raises from donors must only be spent in furtherance of that mission and those goals."

Brown said his investigation is not about politics, but rather about public disclosure of organizations embedded in state-run universities.

Officials have not said how much they are paying Palin for the appearance, although her standard speaking fee is widely reported at $100,000. Tuesday, State Senator Leland Yee revealed a long list of perks Palin will receive from the school -- everything from first-class airfare to bendable straws.

A group of students said they found documents revealing the perks -- plus parts of the university’s speaking contract with Palin -- in a dumpster on campus. They said they searched the dumpster based on a tip.

"We just sat there and looked at (the document)," said Alicia Lewis, one of the students. "We're looking it over, just couldn't believe we found the one thing that this whole issue is about. "

Here are other perks outlined in the documents, according to Yee:

  • "Round-trip, first class commercial air travel for two between Anchorage, Alaska and event city"
  • Presumably for Palin’s guests, "full, unrestricted round-trip coach airfare for two between event city and lower 48 US States."
  • 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."
  • The contract also includes other stipulations regarding autographs, photographs, press releases, advertising, recording, lighting, bottled water and "bendable straws."

Watch Raw Video Here

The university foundation has said that because private donations are involved, there is no requirement to disclose details of Palin's visit, including what she's being paid. Yee is pushing a bill to require foundations to engage in full disclosure.

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