Sarah Palin's Blowback

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Jeez, you offer one secret payment for a speech by Sarah Palin, and everyone goes nuts. A few months back, the once and future queen of America took a wad o' cash from the Cal State Stanislaus Foundation to say a few words and rile up the Obama-is-a-muslim hordes. Inconveniently, the foundation is also legally connected to Cal State Stanislaus, a campus in the publicly-owned Cal State system, which means that the public had a right to know just how much she was getting paid for her 70 minutes of "How's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for ya?" The answer: $75,000. But the real question was whether a private foundation that is so intermingled with a public entity can keep its records private — and god knows its leaders tried. Now, a state investigation later, the answer is disturbingly opaque. On the one hand, Cal State officials have now accepted that they cannot hide who gave and who got $1.6 billion in foundation money, if state agencies had a hand in accepting and disbursing it. On the other hand, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, their accounting is so sloppy that they can no longer figure out where the private money intermingled with public funds, and where it went after that. Evil? Stupid? Take your pick.

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