|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
November 16, 1999
Mr. Frank M. Crull
Dear Mr. Crull:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 127849.
The Department of Public Safety (the "DPS") received requests from the Associated Press, The Austin American-Statesman, and KTVT for information related to the Governor's Protective Detail (the "Detail"). You claim that the requested information is excepted from disclosure under section 552.108 of the Government Code. Pursuant to section 552.304 of the Government Code, the Office of the Governor has also provided comment, arguing that the subject information is excepted from disclosure by section 552.108(b)(1) of the Government Code. You have submitted the responsive information to this office for reveiw. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the representative samples.
The Associated Press ("AP" ) has requested the cost of providing security for Governor George Bush, in the six month periods between January 1 and June 30 of the years 1995 through 1999. AP specifically seeks
(1) the amount allocated in the DPS budget for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor in the specified period as well as the allocation in the year 2000-2001 budget;
(2) the number of state troopers assigned to the Governor and to the Lieutenant Governor;
(3) the amount of overtime expense submitted in the requested years;
(4) the total expense for food, lodging, and travel for security officers in the requested years; and
(5) the total expenses for staff, equipment, travel and overtime on days the Governor traveled outside of Texas for his presidential campaign.
The Austin American-Statesman has requested:
(1) total budget for the Detail, in the current, coming, and last four fiscal years;
(2) the amount of additional allocations or transfers during the three months preceding the request for information;
(3) the number of FTE's budgeted for the Detail in the current, past, and next four fiscal years; and
(4) the amount budgeted and incurred for Detail travel, overtime, base salaries, and other expenses for the current, past, and next four fiscal years.
KTVT Television has requested
(1) the names and dates of birth of members of the Detail;
(2) all expense reports filed by members of the Detail from May 1, 1999, through July 7, 1999;
(3) all overtime reports filed by members of the Detail from May 1, 1999, through July 7, 1999; and
(4) the number of hours of overtime worked and paid to those people during that period of time.
Section 552.108(b)(1) excepts from disclosure the internal records and notations of law enforcement agencies and prosecutors when their release would interfere with law enforcement and crime prevention. When section 552.108(b) is claimed, it must be demonstrated how releasing the information would interfere with law enforcement, if the information does not supply that explanation on its face. Open Records Decision No. 434 at 3 (1986).
The DPS asserts that information which reveals details about the Detail could be used to determine the nature and extent of the protection afforded the Governor. DPS contends that release of such information would undermine the effectiveness of the security for the Governor and compromise the safety of the Governor and the members of the Detail.
The Office of the Governor asserts that, from the type of information requested here, potential criminals can ascertain unique and sensitive activities that are conducted by DPS officers carrying out their security duties. This office further contends that, because the DPS' efforts to provide security are successful in part because of the public's inability to ascertain the size and composition of the Detail, and the types of security measures it provides, release of information of the type requested constitutes an inherent danger. Regarding specific items of information, the Governor's office contends
(1) the release of Detail salaries and overtime would reveal the number of officers assigned to the Detail and the time of day at which they are assigned to protect the Governor;
(2) the release of Detail expense reports and travel vouchers would reveal certain financial activities reflecting DPS' choice about the strategies it uses in providing security;
(3) the release of expense documents containing Detail cellular phone bills would reveal phone numbers used for the coordination of providing certain security measures (i.e. - calling the security head of an office building to relay security information) and again also reflects DPS' choices about the strategies it uses in providing security; and
(4) the release of travel records, expense reports, and payroll information would reveal sensitive security and financial activities that reflect what security measures are taken when the Governor travels in or out of state.
From this argument and comment we conclude that it has been demonstrated that release of specific or detailed information related to the Governor's Security Detail would interfere with law enforcement and crime prevention. Such information may therefore be withheld under section 552.108(b)(1). However, DPS has made no argument attempting to demonstrate how the release of aggregate funding totals, e.g. total amounts budgeted or the amount of additional allocations or transfers to that budget, would interfere with law enforcement and crime prevention. Therefore, responsive information which reveals only total aggregate amounts must be released.
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# 127849
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Jim Vertuno
Mr. Mike Ward
Mr. Bennett Cunningham
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US