The foundation at California State University, Stanislaus, does not oversee its assets responsibly but has broken no laws in managing the money it raises and spends for the school, according to an audit by Attorney General Jerry Brown.
Brown's Charitable Trusts Section investigated the foundation's financial practices, and found that the group "exercised inadequate oversight of its $20 million in assets," a statement from the Attorney General's Office said.
But, the statement said, there was "no misuse of... funds and no violations of state law."
The audit does not address the question of whether the foundation violated the state's Public Records Act in withholding documents about a June fundraiser that featured an appearance by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. That issue is being resolved in the courts with a lawsuit filed by Californians Aware, a government watchdog group.
"Brown's audit showed that the foundation's accounting procedures were inadequate, it failed to understand fully its duties and responsibilities under the law -- including basic charitable trust concepts -- and it failed to implement its own auditor's recommendation to prepare a budget for all fundraising events," the statement said. "Recently, the foundation has been working with an independent auditor to rectify these lapses."
During the audit, the Cal State Stanislaus Foundation agreed to improve oversight of its contributions. Foundation directors will attend training on management of charitable organizations and the fiduciary duties of being on a board of directors, according to Brown's office. The foundation also agreed to consider recommendations made by its independent auditor, ensure its relationships with outside fundraising organizations comply with state law and make sure it follows its own policies concerning finances and governance.
PHOTO CREDIT: Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is escorted into a fundraising dinner by California State University, Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani in Turlock, Calif., Friday, June 25, 2010. (AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli)