CARMICHAEL — This morning our vice-president for open government compliance, Richard McKee, and our attorney, Kelly Aviles, viewed documents provided by the Office of the General Counsel of California State University in response to our public records request for information relating to Sarah Palin’s appearance at the University’s 50th Anniversary Gala.

The vast majority of the nearly 900 pages we received were documents created after our initial request and related to the numerous media inquiries that the University has received.

A small percentage of the documents were created before our initial request of March 31, 2010, when we asked for “all University records, other than those specifically prepared for public release, concerning the planned appearance of Sarah Palin as guest of honor at the University’s 50th Anniversary Gala on Friday, June 25.” These documents relating to Palin’s appearance were held by the University and should have been provided immediately after our initial request.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery is what was not made available. 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 Palin’s 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.

Anyone interested in viewing the documents we obtained today can do so online.