(Updated with fundraising totals)
Washington (CNN) – After months of controversy, Sarah Palin's speech Friday night at a California state university brought in record amounts of money for the school. Palin spoke at a black-tie fundraising gala sponsored by a foundation of the California State University Stanislaus.
"The gala is on track to be the most successful fundraiser in the university's history," University of California Stanislaus spokeswoman Eve Hightower told CNN, adding the foundation will exceed its fundraising goal.
According Hightower, the event netted $200,000 plus there were $58,000 in donations of "in kind services."
Tickets for the dinner were $500 apiece with sponsorships for tables ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. The spokeswoman said the event "sold out in record time."
The decision to invite Palin to the northern California institution earlier this year prompted protests especially after documents were found in April that seemingly detailed some of the demands she gives organizers of her events. In a dumpster near a university administration building students found pages of what was believed to be a contract by the foundation for Palin's appearance, including general requirements for her speaking engagements. Sponsors must provider either first-class flights if she flies commercially or a specific type of Lear jet, for example.
The papers did not detail the fee she would receive for the speech. She's believed to fetch about $100,000 per appearance.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown began an investigation in April examining the finances of the foundation and whether officials were trying to avoid public disclosure laws by discarding documents. A state senator asked for the probe after he said the foundation refused to turn over some requested records concerning the event.
"We are taking this action to make sure that the money raised goes toward the intended educational purposes and not a dollar is wasted or misspent," Brown said in a statement at the time. "This is not about Sarah Palin ... She has every right to speak at a university event, and schools should strive to bring to campus a broad range of speakers. The issues are public disclosure and financial accountability in organizations embedded in state-run universities. We're not saying any allegation is true, but we owe it to the taxpayers to thoroughly check out every serious allegation," Brown said.
That investigation is continuing, the Attorney General's office told CNN Friday.
A university spokeswoman did not respond to a message concerning the probe. The chairman of the foundation had earlier told reporters her speaking fee and accommodations would not be be paid for with state funds but would be covered by private donations. The foundation has refused to release some records arguing as a private group it did not fall under the state's public records act's requirements.
A spokesman for Palin did not return a message seeking comment on the event.
–Follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter @kevinbohncnn
This woman is an idiot.
I guess that old expression about a fool and his money are often parted is true. There sure as hell are a lot of them inCalifornia.
Here's an idea on how to pay her for this event. Have the university award her an honorary doctorate. That way she can take the diploma and auction it off! Whatever she raises in the auction can go towards paying back the contributors who helped pay for her ethics investigation legal bills from Troopergate and whatever investigation she gets dragged into for this speech, too! I am sure there is someone who would pay more than the cost of shipping to own something of hers.
Oooo, don't call it a "gala". After all, it's Sarah Palin that's speaking, and I'm sure she wouldn't want to be associated with anything that sounds like that.
Why not refer to it as a "bigot bash"? That's more descriptive of her and her audience.
I hope the school does get it's fair share but don't forget Palin will steal more than her fair share so watch her like a hawk. Palin is again in trouble for stealing campaign funds.
Maybe another ethics probe?
But then, those pesky laws and lawyers and the media that doesn't sell gold at an inflated price DO seem to get in her way, don't they?
You betcha' .
Stainslaus' previous record for fundraising was a bake sale. I say this because rather than tell us how much was being raised, they only say it is a record. So while that's a good thing, it could be beating 100.00 raised at a bake sale.
Anything more than that for listening Sarah is outlandish.
Wonder how that legal fundy thingy is working out for her (private citizen getting the money collected by - and the work done by - a public servant)?
Get the first
Yeah, Miley Cyrus also sold out venues at one time in her life.
Now she can't sell out the House of Blues on Sunset Blvd.
How about her "show" in Texas this weekend at the Oil Palace? I got an email from them begging to sell the tickets.
Tick, tock Sarah...14 minutes and counting.
I love how Sarah Palin incites elitist liberals into a state of frenzy! But of course, they are so much wiser and in touch with America's feelings right?
What a misleading article. The only record Palin is setting is for fundraising at that particular university, which is so obscure that CNN can't spell its name correctly twice in the same article!
The university's previous record fundraising celebrity was probably Howie Mandell or the woman who played Josephine the Plumber.
Why is this even news, CNN? I know it's fascinating that someone as unintelligent and lacking in substance as Palin has gotten a national spotlight, but is EVERYthing she does worthy of reporting? Every day there's some new non-event story being reported. "Palin belives in ghosts and wolfmans!" "Palin picks up something off the ground and stuffs it in her mouth while her keepers aren't watching!" "Palin squeals in wonder at the sight of a colorful kite!" "Palin gets tongue stuck in toaster while trying to eat yummy bread powder!" Yadda yadda, on and on, it's all "news."
Couldn't someone just shake some car keys at her to keep her pacified so the grown-up adult world can move on without her numbing influence?
great for this university......always good to have the next President of the United States support your cause
Stay tuned. Sarah Palin has a huge and growing support base. I'm looking forward to her breaking the record for first women occupying the White House and I'm not talking about as a First Lady either, Hillary.
This controversey is caused because these centers of "Higher Learning" don't feel certain viewpoints of certain people should have an opportunity to be heard. Its as simple as that. The left in this country who dominate in our Colleges and Unervisities won't tollerate opposing views so they try to suppress them for fear their future progressives will actually be swayed with the logic of a more centrist or even right leaning world view.
Progressives and liberals cannot compete in the real world of ideas and policies so they try to silence the opposition or marginalize them.
I see Palin is still driving the far left people into crazy fits. Priceless– love every minute of it.
I wouldn't pay 5 cents to see if she were speaking across the street. Enough of Palin already.
No lather here. More like laughter. This woman, who purports to be a member of the middle class, demanded a private jet to come speak at this university. Middle class? Please. If she were so "in-touch" with america, she would fly coach on normal carriers. Next time she does that will be the first since John McCain cursed us with this woman.
BTW, exactly where do you sit in the income ladder?
Will someone have to spell c-o-l-l-e-g-e for her?
Someone would have to pay ME that much money to go listen to her.
This country isn't broke enough ..thats for sure. Raise those taxes and pay off deficits...
if people want to pay to listen to this moron at least the university is making out on it.
The bigger Palin gets, the more the whacked-out loony left gets discombobulated. I'm all about the left becoming even more discombobulated.
Dave @4:11 pm:
Every day there's some new non-event story being reported. "Palin belives in ghosts and wolfmans!" "Palin picks up something off the ground and stuffs it in her mouth while her keepers aren't watching!" "Palin squeals in wonder at the sight of a colorful kite!" "Palin gets tongue stuck in toaster while trying to eat yummy bread powder!" Yadda yadda, on and on, it's all "news."
I usually do a good job of holding myself back from commenting on any and all Palin "news", but this time I just have to thank you (Dave) for the biggest and best laugh I've had all week. :)