Palin’s Secret ‘Bendy Straws’ Contract Under Investigation
April 14, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Bendable straws with her bottled water, deluxe hotel suites, private Lear jets, or first-class commercial air travel and ground transport only by SUVs. These are just a few of the demands in Sarah Palin’s standard speaking contracts, in which she reportedly receives upwards of $100,000 per speech. OK, the half-term governor is something of a prima donna — no surprise there, but bendy straws? And students, professors and state lawmakers already outraged over her hiring by the university foundation of California State University, Stanislaus to speak at the university’s 50th anniversary gala, now have further ammunition to oppose her appearance. Two students fished six-pages of Palin’s speaking contract from the dumpster, amid piles of shredded documents and turned them over to a state lawmaker, who has been investigating her hiring. Now, state Attorney General Jerry Brown, is conducting a formal investigation into the foundation’s finances and the destruction of documents that the university said didn’t exist. But, meanwhile we can peruse the “Thriller from Wasilla’s” folksy contract demands.
Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) held a press conference with the two student dumpster divers by his side and released the six-pages of Palin’s contract. Although her name were not on the pages, the contract was from her booking agent, the Washington Speaker’s Bureau and mentions a female speaker traveling from Anchorage, Alaska. Her speaking fee isn’t noted, but it’s believed to be $75,000.
“It is truly shocking and a gross violation of the public trust that such documents would be thrown away and destroyed during a pending investigation,” said Yee. The state lawmaker refers to the uncovering of the Palin contract from the trash, as another “Watergate.”
Attorney General Jerry Brown is launching a “broad investigation.” “This is not about Sarah Palin,” Brown said in a statement. “She has every right to speak at a university event…. The issues are public disclosure and financial accountability in organizations embedded in state-run universities.”
Palin has earned millions in speaking fees, since she quit the governor’s office in July, according to ABC News:
“Speaking has become a major component of her post-governorship career – a multi-media whirl that has earned her at least an estimated $12 million since she left office in July, a figure that is based on publicly available records and reports.”
Among the perks required by Palin are luxurious air travel, three hotel rooms and the insistence on pre-screened questions only:
- “Round-trip, first class commercial air travel for two between Anchorage, Alaska and event city”
- Presumably for Palin’s guests, “full, unrestricted round-trip coach airfare for two between event city and lower 48 US States.”
- If the university chooses to use a private jet, “the Speaker, their traveling party and the plane crew will be the only passengers.”
- Ground transportation in both the originating city and the event city “will be by SUV(s) from a professionally licensed and insured car service.”
- Accommodations are to include “a one-bedroom suite and two single rooms in a deluxe hotel” as well as a “laptop computer and printer (fully stocked with paper) and high speed internet” and “all meals and incidentals.”
- “For Q&A, the questions are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened and a designated representative shall ask questions directly of the Speaker.”
- The contract also includes other stipulations regarding autographs, photographs, press releases, advertising, recording, lighting, bottled water and “bendable straws.”
And if a private jet is provided, Palin MUST have a spacious Lear jet: “The private aircraft MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for West Coast Events; or, a Hawker 800 or Larger (as defined by interior cabin space for) East Coast Events, and both are subject to the Speaker’s approval.”
The provision regarding the bendable straws reads: “Unopened still water (2 bottles) and bendable straws are to be placed in or near the wooden lectern.”
And when the former half-term governor of Alaska speaks internationally, she reserves the right to hob nob with heads of state and other dignitaries:
“For international events, the speaker also reserves the right to visit privately with the host government’s head of state… The speaker reserves the right to accept the invitation of host government to overnight stay at an official residence.”
Meanwhile, the university foundation is denying that documents were purposely shredded. Foundation President Matt Swanson claims the foundation is a private organization not subject to the transparency requirements of a public institution. Palin was hired to sell tickets and raise money for the university, says Swanson.
“From our standpoint, no one did anything wrong,” Swanson said.
The Foundation of California State University best stock up on bendy straws.