Schwarzenegger vetoes transparency in CSU, UC auxiliaries
September 30, 2010
• UPDATED at 8:08 a.m. with new quotes from Yee
• Says it might scare off donors if public knew who they were
• ‘Secrecy breeds corruption’
A bill that would require the various foundations and other types of auxiliaries that are closely associated with California State University and the University of California to open their donation records to the public has been scuttled by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The University of California and California State University claimed Senate Bill 330 would result in a “chilling effect” on private donations.
“For a governor who wanted to blow up the boxes and whose rhetoric is filled with platitudes of open government, it is a disgrace and completely hypocritical to then veto legislation to bring real transparency and accountability to our public universities,” says the bill’s author, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco.
“The governor, like his ivory tower counterparts within the UC and CSU administrations, failed California taxpayers and students by vetoing this sunshine legislation. He has secured his legacy as governor – a failure when it came to open government,” he says.
“While the bill attempts to provide a veil of protection for donors requesting anonymity, as crafted, it will not provide sufficient protection for many who rightfully deserve a level of privacy as part of their giving,” Mr. Schwarzenegger says in his veto message Thursday night. “Often times, these generous private citizen donors do not want to be in the glare of publicity.”
The bill would have placed the institutions’ subsidiary organizations – known as “auxiliaries” – under the scope of the California Public Records Act. Under existing law that now will remain unchanged, the state’s public colleges and universities are able to hide billions of dollars within their auxiliary organizations and foundations, which are often staffed by public employees, Mr. Yee had argued.
This secrecy has encouraged colleges and universities to create an increasing number of auxiliaries to run campus operations such as food services, parking facilities, housing and bookstores – all of which would be subject to public oversight if they were administered by the agency and not an auxiliary, he said.