Friday, August 01, 2008

Governor believes his comings and goings should be secret from taxpayers; Attorney General disgracefully agrees

UPDATE: Kuff brings word that the newspapers won their suit.

I mentioned last month that Governor Perry doesn't want the public to find out where he's going. Now it turns out he also objects to telling them where he's been, refusing to release travel vouchers from the Governor's security detail. Reports the Houston Chronicle:
Attorneys for three Texas newspapers are expected to appear in district court here today in an attempt to force the Texas Department of Public Safety to release travel records of Gov. Rick Perry's security detail. ...

The Texas attorney general's office, which represents DPS, has said the documents should be exempt from public release because they could pose a security risk to the governor, his family, and others traveling with him, attorneys for the state said in court documents.
Greg Abbott's idea that elected officials shouldn't have to reveal travel voucher for taxpayer-financed trips flat out astonishes me and goes against almost four decades of AG interpretations regarding such documents. For an AG who in his early years appeared to be pretty good on open records and meetings issues, the use of these strained interpretations to protect the Governor's schedule strikes me as both unnecessary and unseemly.

14 comments:

TxBluesMan said...

If there is something in the documents that show a specific procedure, I can see redacting that very limited, very specific information.

Otherwise, there are no grounds for a blanket denial to release the information on past trips.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

None of the governor's itinerary - past or future - should be closed, there's simply zero basis for it in the Public Information Act. Much less payment vouchers, for heaven's sake! Taxpayers get to know how he spends their money.

This is a 180 by Abbott from his strong pro-open records rulings during his first term. I'm glad the papers are suing and can virtually guarantee they'll win. Though IANAL, I've been around the open records block on this many times. This is a ridiculous (and pathetic) legal stance by the AG.

It also makes you wonder where Governor Perry is going on the taxpayers' dime that he's trying to hide?

Anonymous said...

As a conservative Republican that "Votes the Issues," I'm simply disgusted with the Texas Attorney General and the Governor of this state!!! They must think we are living in 1950's Russia! As a TAXPAYER, I feel that the HAIR is accountable to those of us that pay him more money that he's worth! I guarantee next election that he will have to get areal job, when he gets kicked to the curb by the TEXAS voters.
Remember, this attorney general tried to get the e-mail addresses of ANONYMOUS bloggers! He needs to go TOO!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

All I hope and pray for his one permanent going.

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

When I say a specific procedure, I'm talking about something in the documents that would show a very specific technique on how they protect him.

For example, if they rent the hotel room directly below him to prevent the ninja aliens from getting to him (OK, that's a bad analogy...), that one item could be redacted.

The rest of it is clearly public info.

I am talking only of those items that are specifically spelled out in the Open Records Act - and only as it regards the LEOs working to protect him. As far as I'm concerned, the rest of it is public.

BTW, I'm in general agreement and not trying to step on your toes...

Anonymous said...

He left the govenor's mansion for renovations so the public couldn't get the visitor's log... so they wouldn't get a Jack Abramoff trail like the visitor log at the White House.

The gov liked this so much they decided to burn the mansion down.

Acerbic said...

Scott, you need to get rid of this rinky-dink Blogger format. This sucks. With the volume of your writing and the number of people responding here the blog is becoming too hard to find any meaningful information.

Perhaps it is time to buy your own domain and invest in a real Bulletin Board?

Just asking..don't hate on me :D

Anonymous said...

Why are you surprised by Greg Abbotts position? He is just another good ole boy just a little slow to get in line. The good ole boys permeate Texas government and are largely what's wrong with every criminal justice issue in the Lone Star. They all need to go, every single one of them.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness conservative Republicans are FINALLY disgusted after all these years of Bush and Perry. Conservative Democrats have been disgusted from Day One.

TxBluesMan said...

I thought Conservative Democrats were extinct...

Ron in Houston said...

I think we should nominate Abbot for the Alberto Gonzalez Award for Open Government

Don Dickson said...

I wish there were at least some consistency in these serial interpretations of the PIA. The strike zone keeps moving around. DPS wasn't concerned with the Governor's safety when it decided it was ok to tell us that the only Trooper stationed at the Mansion was using the Internet during his shift. Seems to me that information might come in handy to someone who wants to burn down what's left of the place.

Anonymous said...

As the bush era ends, those who are closest to the coattails, and the associated anatomical part, are very much interested in hiding their true natures. Perry is very close to that anatomical part, and his tcomings and goings will embarrass the current power structure in the state. I agree with Grits, his itinerary is public and needs to be known. Even his sixth street hangouts.

Brent King said...

The Governor isn't the only state official that travels on the taxpayer's dime.Perry and the rest of these offcials rest securely on the thought that they are untouchable and that who would question them? This Attorney General is a puppet for Perry.If Perry were a ventriloquist,Abbott could just sit on Perry's lap so he wouldn't have to ask Perry what he wanted him to say.Look at the travel of university presidents who travel at state expense.One can only imagine how much money has been funneled for personal benefit making up some lame excuse to charge the cost to taxpayers.