Probe Demanded Into Palin Fees at Cal University

Secret pay renews controversy over foundations
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 13, 2010 4:24 AM CDT
How much did Sarah Palin make at a $500-a-plate fundraising dinner for Cal State Stanislaus?   (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
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(Newser) – A California senator is calling for a probe into a secretive private organization that arranges fundraising events at public universities and is refusing to release information about Sarah Palin's speaking fees. The foundation is one of several that raises billions to support state universities, but they aren't subject to financial disclosures laws. One foundation's refusal to release information on a contract with Palin to speak at a $500-a-plate event for Cal State Stanislaus has been particularly controversial. The Washington Speakers Bureau, which represents Palin, demands that her fees remain confidential.

Some 100 foundations control $5.34 billion in spending on California universities. They are frequently located on university property and receive university support. Critics are calling for increased disclosure on how efficiently funds are spent. A $1.25 million loan from one foundation was recently made to a former board member, who defaulted. "I believe universities are shifting responsibilities to the foundations for the sole purpose of hiding transactions," State Sen. Leland Yee told the Los Angeles Times.

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