Sarah Palin's Secret Contract Demands: Big Jets and Bendable Straws

Read contract fished out of a California dumpster by angry college students.

ByABC News
April 13, 2010, 12:12 PM

Apr. 13, 2010 — -- Gov. Sarah Palin may be flexible on some of the perks she needs when speaking in public, but on the question of drinking straws, she shall not bend.

Six pages of the contract Palin's handlers sent to Cal State Stanislaus were unearthed in a dumpster by students there this week, and one of the many requirements that must be met for the former vice presidential hopeful: two unopened bottles of still water and "bendable straws" must be waiting on a wooden lectern.

That was just one item among the pages of elaborate demands that must be met to land a contract for Palin to come speak at an event. More costly were the requirement for her travel – the venue must supply her with business or first class commercial airfare, or with a private plane. And not just any jet will do.


"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 Speaker Reserves the right to change the flight plans at any time," the contract states.

None of this was supposed to be made public. Palin's contracts include a confidentiality clause, and the state university that had booked her to speak at a fundraising event has been fighting with state lawmakers over demands that the details be made public. Palin's name does not appear in the six pages recovered, but the contract is from the Washington Speakers Bureau, which handles her speaking engagements, and refers to a female speaker who will be aboard flights originating in Anchorage, Alaska.

Palin's planned speech at Cal State University Stanislaus is one of the dozens she has booked on a lucrative lecture circuit. 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.

The Cal State speech – which is believed to be costing the university's foundation about $75,000 -- became grist for controversy when California state Sen. Leland Yee questioned the wisdom of the expense at a time when the state is in the grips of a budget crisis. University officials have remained defiant. University Vice President Susana Gajic-Bruyea sent an email March 29 to students defending the choice.