Sarah Palin to Deliver $93,000 Speech Tonight

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After months of back and forth in which it was revealed that administrators at CSU Stanislaus were actively seeking to conceal how much it was showering on high-priced speaker Sarah Palin -- and portions of the her contract with the school turning up shredded in a dumpster after administrators claimed they did not exist -- the former vice presidential candidate will finally deliver her speech at the university tonight. By the way, she'll get $75,000 plus $18,000 toward transport and accommodations. And the bendy straws she demanded for her in-speech beverage.

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The whole situation left Stanislaus officials very much living up to the school's nickname: Turkey Tech. After Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco demanded to know how much Palin would be pocketing for the $500-a-head fund-raising speech, the school turned defensive. 

First, it claimed that its university foundation -- the privately funded auxiliary of the school officially hosting Palin -- was not subject to the California Public Records Act, and therefore didn't have to turn over any papers. But the university claimed that to be a moot point, because the school's compliance officer, Gina Leguria, informed Yee's office that "The University has no documents that are responsive to your request."

And yet, at a Sacramento press conference in April a pair of CSU-Stanislaus students claim they discovered university officials on April 9 -- a furlough Friday -- shredding the very documents the school claimed it did not have, and disposing of them in a dumpster. That led to a lawsuit by the open government group Californians Aware and a probe of the university by Attorney General Jerry Brown.

The nearly 900 pages of documents the university eventually turned over plainly revealed that school administrators sought to obscure Palin's hefty fee for fear of bad press; whether they violated the law by doing so is a question that has not yet been answered.

By the way, here's some of the highlights of Palin's contract, as recovered from the dumpster:

  • Stipulations for "Round-trip, first class commercial air travel for two between Anchorage, Alaska and event city"
  • Requirements for "full, unrestricted round-trip coach airfare for two between event city and lower 48 US States."
  • If the university were to hire 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."
  • "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."

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