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Making political fodder of Palin's Turlock contract
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I'm not surprised that two students went rooting through garbage cans at Cal State Stanislaus in an attempt to find something - anything - to smear the college foundation since it hired Sarah Palin to give a keynote address at a June fundraiser.

Imagine if Hillary Clinton - a very polarizing Democrat - had been hired to speak at the June 25 fundraiser. Do you suppose students Alicia Briggs and Ashli Lewis would have been looking in the garbage for documents to embarrass the Foundation? What if Julia Roberts or Barbra Streisand or Susan Sarandon - all who vehemently bad-mouthed Bush when he was president - had been the featured speaker? Do you think the students would have attempted to literally dredge up trash?

Hardly. Palin stirs the angst among liberals because she threatens them like no other figure today with maybe the exception of Rush Limbaugh.

Ever wonder why so much time is spent to slander and malign this woman, and her family? Colleges are supposed to be about expanding the mind, being tolerant of opinion and thought, as one explores the world and career opportunities, exploring ideas in all aspects to life, the world, government, society and politics. But not if it's about like Palin. She is attractive, intelligent, successful, connects well and electrifies her conservative audiences and still looms as a potential 2012 presidential candidate. Although Democrats say they want to advance the status of women and minorities, they've worked overtime to smear Palin. Secretly they wish the Democratic Party had such a popular figure.

So the California State University, Stanislaus Foundation wanted to hire Palin to give a speech. I'd say that's a pretty smart thing to do. The speech is already sold out at $500 per person, which will net the foundation a hefty profit, somewhere in the range of $100,000 to $200,000. According to CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani, Palin's speaking engagement will "raise more money than any single fundraiser that CSU Stanislaus has had in the past, including from people who have never previously donated to the university or supported university events. Whether one agrees with her politically or not, the money raised from this event is a good thing for this university." I'm sure that his statement is making the liberals boil.

Hatred of Palin prompted special attention to be paid on this speaker selection. They demanded to know how much she was paid as some expressed outrage that Palin would be invited to speak on a college campus. It's not surprising that the two students who went through the trash found a willing accomplice in their scheme to suggest that something is afoul in Turlock. The giddy pair headed up to Sacramento with their bags of shredded paper to the office of state Senator Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat. He was quick to suggest that the two students found potential evidence of a crime. Yee said, "This is in fact a dark day for the CSU, particularly the Stanislaus campus." He made a bizarre comparison to the shredding to Watergate.

Huh? Am I missing something? What was the crime? Hiring Palin to give a speech?

This is no "gotcha" moment. The truth is that the Palin contract documents are not public documents since she is not being paid with taxpayers' money; the Foundation's money is privately raised. So the CSU Stanislaus Foundation responded to Public Records Act requests for a copy of the contract and speakers fee by stating that as a 501c3 foundation, it is not subject to the Public Records Act and for good reason. The Washington Speakers Bureau contract includes a confidentiality clause that the Foundation cannot breach.

It's not enough that Shirvani said the Foundation has "clearly stated that it will be happy to provide the net costs and net revenue of the event, which would be sufficient for anyone whose true goal is transparency." We have political posturing Yee and Attorney General Jerry Brown, who are trying to capitalize on the matter by launching into full investigation mode of the foundation.

I say bring on the investigation. While we are at it, let's find out how a private foundation document could have ended up in the hands of Yee. Why doesn't Brown call for a full investigation of the theft of documents? The addendum of the campus's contract with Palin was taken from a recycle bin in the office of CSU Stanislaus Foundation Executive Director Susana Gajic-Bruyea. Maybe the real Watergate is how the documents were purloined since Watergate was all about a break-in and stolen documents.

I agree with Foundation Board President Matt Swanson who said: "It's a dark day when an entity that's sole purpose is to raise money for student services and university programs is falsely accused of wrong-doing. The foundation is a 501c3 that raises money for the university. Our sole aim is to raise money for university programs and student services. Given declining state support for higher education, private fundraisers are more vital than ever."

What a sham. And what a shame.

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