Open Records and Texas Government response : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

She needs to talk to her buddy Cornyn about that Open Records thing.....

Fair use etc

Updated: Saturday, Mar. 18, 2000 at 03:02 CST

Comptroller offers records for $5.7 million, in 2170 By Chris Williams Associated Press

AUSTIN --Texas Democrats can have copies of 7.5 million e-mails in the Comptroller's Office -- if they will pay $5.7 million and wait until 2170, said Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander.

"Assuming something dreadful doesn't happen, I'll be just over 230 years old," said Rylander, a Republican.

"In case I'm not around, I'll leave a note in my top drawer for my successor to e-mail when it's all ready," she said.

Mike Hailey, spokesman for the Texas Democratic Party, requested copies March 3 of all the agency's e-mail since Jan. 1, 1999. His boss was unimpressed by Rylander's response on Friday.

Molly Beth Malcolm, Democratic chair, said the party asked for the e-mails to prevent the comptroller's office from deleting potentially incriminating records from its computers.

"We submitted the request for e-mail to delay a possible wholesale destruction of records that belong to the people of Texas," she said. "Hopefully that was accomplished."

State law dictates that a state agency cannot destroy documents that have been requested under the Texas Public Information Act, Malcolm and Rylander's spokesman, Mark Sanders, agreed.

Sanders said the agency plans to delete e-mail more than 15 days old from its main computers, but will retain copies of important documents and e-mails as required by law.

The two sides squabbled over a records request in September 1999, where the party asked for audio tapes of telephone conversations made by general counsel Steve Koebele.

Rylander asked for Koebele's resignation after learning of the secretive taping. The actual tapes were discarded -- although the agency did release summaries of their contents.

"The Comptroller's Office simply cannot be trusted," Malcolm said. "They destroyed public records and then they lied about it."

She said the Democratic Party would not pay the $5.7 million bill.

The comptroller's office sent Hailey an itemized bill for delivering the e-mails Friday, including $3.34 million to remove tax information about specific people and businesses, Sanders said.

The bill also says state employees would have to spend 2,652 hours locating the e-mails, 41,667 hours transferring them to paper, 125,000 to review their work and 187,500 hours removing the confidential tax information.

"I'm here serving the taxpayers of Texas, not the political whims of the Democrat Party," Rylander said.

Hailey said the party had decided to drop its request for the e-mail about two hours before Rylander delivered her response to the media, but now wants more time to think about it.

Distributed by The Associated Press (AP)

-- native Texan (, March 18, 2000

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