In April, two students at Cal State Stanislaus found a partial copy of a speaker’s contract for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The partial copy revealed that Palin, who was due to speak at the university in June, has “more demands than an opera diva when she hits the road,” as the New York Daily News put it. It revealed Palin requires a chauffeured black SUV to get her to and from the airport, first class airfare or a private jet, a pre-approved “deluxe hotel” suite, and two bottles of water placed next to the lectern with “bendable straws.”
Many doubted the authenticity of the contract, and Palin blasted the students for digging it up, accusing them of trying to “silence” her. But on Friday, a California judge ordered the release of the full contract under a freedom of information law, proving the partial copy is indeed authentic. The full contract confirms her “diva” demands, and provides new details, from her $75,000 price tag to other extravagances she requires:
— Jet: Not just any private plane will suffice: “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,” for East Coast events. But even if organizers arrange for a private jet, if Palin “changes her mind and opts to fly via commercial flights for US events, the Customer must be prepared to cover the cost of first class round trip airfare for two, and full, unrestricted round trip coach for two.”
— Visiting with heads of state: For international appearances, Palin “reserves the right to visit privately with the host government’s Head of State,” as well as “accept the invitation of [the] host government to overnight at an official residence.”
— Hotels: All hotels have to be “deluxe” and pre-approved by her representatives, with the room booked under an “alias.” Even non-overnight stays require hotel rooms, including a “holding suite” and “one or two single rooms.”
— Stage: The contract has very specific instructions about how the stage and lectern should be arranged. Lighting should be “comfortable, but at an appropriate production level for the Speaker,” and the lecterns should be made of wood — “no Plexiglass or thin lecterns.”
The contract also makes numerous demands to limit the public’s and the media’s access to Palin:
— Questions: All audience questions must be pre-approved, and can only be asked by a moderator or “designated representative,” who must be approved by Palin’s party.
— Media: “All requests for press or media coverage” of the event must be submitted far in advance for approval. “If media coverage is approved,” Palin’s Representatives need a complete list of “media outlets expected to attend” 10 days in advance.
— Recording: The media are only permitted to record the first three minutes of Palin’s speech, and then just for B-roll (no audio, video only). Recording of any other kind is strictly prohibited, unless authorized by Palin, and all personal recording devices, including cell phones, have to be turned off “at all events in which Speaker is present.” Only a campus photographer is permitted document to entire speech, and then only approved photos can be published.
— Autographs and photo ops: “Unless agreed to” early on, organizers “shall not permit or assist in the request for autographs while the speaker is on site.” Photo opportunities have to be pre-approved, and photos are for personal use only and can’t be re-printed. The contract provides very specific instructions, including a diagram, of how the photo opportunity should be conducted.
— Face-time: Paying the $75,000 for Palin’s visit won’t buy you access to the half-term governor. Palin, her “traveling party, and the plane crew will be the only passengers onboard the private jet.” And “[o]nly representatives of the Speaker or WSB are to meet the speaker at the arriving/departing airports.”
— Promotional material: All advertising, press releases, and promotional materials, such as flyers and posters, must be pre-approved, as must be sponsoring organizations.
— Receptions: A full list of all those attending (“including name, title, and affiliation”) must be provided in advance.
The tight restrictions on access reflect Palin’s media strategy, which insulates her as much as possible from tough questions by confining her to Facebook statements and Fox News. Palin, who cultivates a salt-of-the-earth image, got into trouble during the 2008 presidential campaign after Politico revealed that the RNC had shelled out $150,000 for Palin shopping sprees at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s, among other high-end stores.
Palin’s black SUV was likely among this row of chauffeured black cars parked near the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday for Glenn Beck’s big “Restoring Honor” rally and fundraiser: