She did not charge fellow Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann for an appearance at a fundraiser in Minnesota last week, for instance. And she has indicated that she will not collect fees for speeches at certain charitable functions. At the same time, a report in the Hamilton Spectator quoted organizers who said she would be paid "in the ballpark" of $200,000 to speak at a fundraising dinner for the Juravinski Cancer Center and St. Peter's Hospital outside of Toronto.
One of the event organizers, Gabe Macaluso, told the Spectator that landing Palin was "quite the coup." The appearance brought a local backlash – the newspaper conducted a non-scientific online survey asking readers if they would pay to see her? More than 1,600 voted and 90 per cent said no. But the charity event, with tickets running $200, sold out.
Palin's $100,000 tab for a Nashville speech to Tea Party activists in February was cited in a lawsuit against organizers by the man who provided a $50,000 down payment for the expense, but who then was not permitted to attend. Bill Hemrick, a wealthy conservative and founder of the Upper-Deck baseball trading card company, told ABC News the suit against Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips is still awaiting a response. Palin later said her fee would go to charity.
In California, state lawmakers have criticized officials at California State University, Stanislaus, for agreeing to pay an estimated $75,000 to Palin so she can keynote a fundraiser for the school. And when they asked the university to provide the details of the contract with Palin, university officials refused because they said the contract included a confidentiality provision.
"Money that is spent on bringing an out-of-touch former politician to campus could be spent on scholarships and other financial assistance during these challenging budget times," said state Sen. Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat.
Yee's chief of staff, Adam Keigwin, told ABC News that the senator has called on the state attorney general's office to force the university to disclose how much is being spent to bring Palin to the school. University officials have remained defiant. University Vice President Susana Gajic-Bruyea sent an email March 29 to students defending the choice.
"The board wanted to bring a keynote speaker who would attract significant interest and, therefore, drive ticket sales," she wrote. "Sarah Palin is that type of speaker, whether or not people agree with her politics, and we expect this event to be a tremendous fund-raising success."