Palin's California appearance sparks calls for expanded public record laws

The Sacramento BeeApril 1, 2010 

Critics of private organizations that support public universities have seized on Sarah Palin's upcoming appearance at CSU Stanislaus as the latest reason to expand California's public records law.

The California State University Stanislaus Foundation — a nonprofit affiliated with the state college — is bringing the former vice presidential candidate to its Turlock campus for a black-tie fundraiser on June 25. Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and the California Faculty Association, the union representing CSU professors, are incensed the foundation won't say how much it is paying Palin for her appearance.

"This is exactly the problem we've been fighting over with the CSU for years," Yee said. "They continue to operate in this cloak of secrecy when it comes to their foundations and auxiliary organizations."

The professors' union is calling on CSU Stanislaus and its foundation to share information about the cost of the event, including whether security is being covered by taxpayer dollars; how much time CSU employees devote to the event; and who gave money to bring Palin to Turlock.

University foundations are not subject to California's public records law – something Yee is trying to change. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill he wrote last year that would have made auxiliaries of public universities comply with the Public Records Act. Yee is trying again this year with Senate Bill 330, which is sponsored by the California Faculty Association.

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