PUBLIC INFORMATION -- E-mail messages made available to Californians Aware Monday by California State University, Stanislaus concerning preparations for the appearance of Sarah Palin as keynote speaker at the campus's 50 anniversary next month deal mostly with the controversy post-dating CalAware's request for such records and disclose relatively few clues as to how actively involved the university was in the planning and arrangements for the event.
CalAware's Vice-president for Open Government Compliance Richard McKee and attorney Kelly Aviles viewed nearly 900 documents
provided by the Office of the General Counsel of California State University in Long Beach, the vast majority of which
were created after CalAware's initial request and related to the numerous media inquiries that
the request and surrounding events generated.
Only a small percentage of the documents on display were created before CalAware's initial request of March 31,
2010, seeking all University records, other than those specifically
prepared for public release, concerning the planned appearance of Sarah Palin
as guest of honor at the Universitys 50th Anniversary Gala on Friday, June 25.
"These documents relating to Palins appearance
were held by the University and should have been provided immediately after our
initial request," said McKee.
"Perhaps the most interesting discovery is what was not made available," he said.
"An event of this size requires a great
deal of planning. However, very few
emails pertained to the planning of the event. The records presented contained no discussions of where the
event should be held or how many people were expected. We received no copies of checks for
expenses already paid. Nor
have we received any budget for the event or information pertaining to
estimated or actual expenditures.
"Finally, we received nothing regarding Palin's appearance
fee or the costs associated with her contract. This, despite the fact that CSU Stanislaus President Hamid
Shirvani is required by law to review and approve all expenditures made by the
Foundation, such as Palins speaking contract.
"The delay in providing
these documents is a violation of the Public Records Act. The fact that there are other documents
that must exist, but have not been produced, only reinforces the need for our
litigation. We are confident that
the Court will provide the public with the much needed and long overdue ability
to oversee the financial dealings that greatly affect the our public university
system," McKee said.