OPEN GOVERNMENT -- Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has for the second year in a row vetoed a bill that would have required nonprofit foundations and other types of "auxiliary organizations" closely associated with California State University and University of California campuses to open their records to the public, reports the Central Valley Business Times.
The University of California and California State University claimed Senate Bill 330 would result in a “chilling effect” on private donations.
“UC and CSU administrators are doing a disservice to taxpayers by misleading the Governor,” said the bill’s author, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, on Sept. 8 after the bill was approved by the Legislature but remained on the governor’s desk.
“Secrecy breeds corruption and not more donations. I expect the Governor will see through their charade and sign SB 330 into law.”
Mr. Yee was wrong.
“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.