UPDATE: Sarah Palin's speech contract was released last night. The document shows that Palin requested $75,000 for a 30-minute speech and private jet travel, among other demands. A copy of the contract is below.
A judge has ruled that CSU Stanislaus violated state law when it refused to make public Sarah Palin’s contract for an on-campus speech, a First Amendment group says.
Californians Aware, which filed a Public Records Act lawsuit to obtain documents about Palin’s June 25 appearance, was informed of the judge’s decision Wednesday, said lawyer Kelly Aviles.
Palin, the former Alaska governor and darling of the Tea Party movement, spoke at a fundraiser for the university foundation. The university had refused to make the contract public, claiming that only the foundation had a copy.
But Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Roger Beauchesne said that records showed that CSU Chancellor Charles Reed knew details of Palin's reported $75,000 contract. For that reason, the judge ruled that the CSU should have made the document public, according to the First Amendment group’s account of the decision.
In his order, according to CalAware, Beauchesne found that "the reasonable inference from the evidence produced is that the University, in its official capacity, has 'used' the contract between the Washington Speaker’s Bureau (with Ms. Palin and the CSU Foundation) in the conduct of the public’s business; therefore, said contract is also a public record and should have been produced to Petitioner."
CalAware President Dennis Winston and the group's general counsel, Terry Francke, said in a joint statement:
This ruling upholds California citizens' right to maintain oversight and control of their government. Public oversight is the only way that citizens are assured that public money is handled in an appropriate matter. We are hopeful that this will prompt CSU to reevaluate the way in which it handles public records requests in the future."
State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, had pushed to learn details of Palin’s fee shortly after the event was announced. But CSU Stanislaus officials dug in their heels, and Californians Aware sued after being rebuffed in an effort to review documents about the Palin event.