Wednesday, April 14, 2010

babble-on better lower her skirt...,

latimes | Palin speech at Cal State campus draws attention to foundations linked to universities. State Sen. Leland Yee is asking Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown to investigate Cal State Stanislaus for failing to provide documents relating to Palin's fundraising appearance at a school gala.

An invitation to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to speak at Cal State Stanislaus' 50th anniversary gala is generating controversy and raising questions about the foundation that is paying her. The nonprofit is refusing to divulge her speaking fees.

The foundation's secrecy has raised scrutiny over the financial dealings and clout of that group and scores of others like it that are associated with California's public universities. The foundations raise billions of dollars for scholarships and other programs, run student organizations and bookstores and perform other crucial campus functions. But they are set up as private entities and are not subject to state law that requires public agencies, including schools, to disclose information about how money is raised and spent.

Among recent incidents drawing attention: A Sonoma State foundation made a $1.25-million loan to one of its former board members, who then defaulted on the loan. A nonprofit at Cal State Sacramento is being audited by the attorney general for loans made to the university president. Foundations at San Francisco City College, Cal State Fresno and the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District have also been embroiled in controversy over financial decisions, according to state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who is looking into the activities.

Concern about the foundations comes amid broader questions about how public universities spend taxpayers' dollars. This includes recent disclosures about the use of funds meant for classrooms and students to cover real estate and construction costs and other business pursuits.

The California Faculty Assn. and the California Newspaper Publishers Assn., among others, are pressing for more transparency from the foundations and other auxiliary groups. They are supporting legislation, SB 330 by Yee, that would require these groups to adhere to California's Public Records Act. Last year, a similar bill, SB 218 by Yee, was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said some of its provisions would have a "chilling effect" on the support of donors and volunteers if their names were disclosed.

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