|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
March 15, 1999
Ms. Judy Ponder
Dear Ms. Ponder:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Texas Open Records Act (the "act"), chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 122724.
The General Services Commission (the "commission") received requests from four requestors for information concerning competing bid proposals submitted to the commission in response to "RFP #4-1098RC, Contract Rental Cars." In response to the request, you submit to this office for review the information which you assert is responsive. You explain that some of the requested information may be proprietary in nature and protected from disclosure by section 552.110 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and have reviewed the information at issue.
Initially, we note that the four requestors have requested information concerning two or more of the other bid proposals. Based on the submitted information, it appears that the bidders were Advantage Rent A Car ("Advantage"), Avis Rent A Car ("Avis"), Dollar Rent A Car ("Dollar"), Enterprise Rent-A-Car ("Enterprise"), Hertz Corporation ("Hertz"), and National Car Rental ("National"). You explain that "[w]hile reviewing the documents, GSC noticed that the bid response submitted by [National] was preceded by a statement as to the 'Proprietary and Confidential' nature of the information in the bid. . . . [Enterprise] cover letter contained a statement of the company's belief that 'all documentation submitted inresponse to this RFP is confidential by law.'"(1) Apparently, in reliance on Enterprise and National's confidentiality claims, your office has made a determination, "[w]ithout taking a position," that only these two bid proposal responses may be confidential.
We note, however, that pursuant to section 552.301(b), a governmental body is required to submit to this office a copy of the specific information requested or representative samples, labeled to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the documents. Since you have not submitted the information concerning the other bidders, other than Enterprise and National's bid proposals, we restrict the application of this ruling only to the bid proposals submitted by Enterprise and National. See generally Gov't Code § 552.352. (act imposes criminal penalties for release of confidential information). We further note that the section 552.110 third-party interests implicated by the four submitted requests may not be waived by a governmental body. Open Records Decision No. 592 (1991).
Since the property and privacy rights of a third party may be implicated by the release of the requested information, this office, based on your representations and submission, notified Enterprise and National about the requests for information. See Gov't Code § 552.305 (permitting interested third party to submit to attorney general reasons why requested information should not be released); Open Records Decision No. 542 (1990) (determining that statutory predecessor to Gov't Code § 552.305 permits governmental body to rely on interested third party to raise and explain applicability of exception in Open Records Act in certain circumstances). The notification states that if the company does not respond within 14 days of receipt, this office will assume that these companies have no privacy or property interest in the requested information. Since neither Enterprise nor National responded to our notification, we assume that their company has no property or privacy interest in the information. Therefore, we have no basis to conclude the information about Enterprise or National is excepted from required public disclosure.
We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied upon as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have questions about this ruling, please contact our office.
Ref.: ID# 122724
Enclosures: Submitted documents
cc: Ms. Traci Esch
Ms. Cheryl Boles
Mr. Morris L. Grace
Mr. Richard Janicki
Mr. Bryan Lynch
Mr. Rob Engels
Mr. Kevin Cowley
Ms. Hadassah Schloss
1. We note that information is not confidential under the Open Records Act simply because the party
submitting it to a governmental body anticipates or requests that it be kept confidential. Open Records
Decision No. 479 (1987).
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US