Attorney General Greg Abbott Takes a Dive on Open Records

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he’s not interested in enforcing the Texas Public Information Act, or TPIA, in a letter to the Third Court of Appeals. Last week, Abbott declined to give his opinion in a case in which he is being sued, City of El Paso v. Greg Abbott and Stephanie Townsend Allala.

In September of 2012, El Paso attorney Stephanie Townsend Allala filed an Open Records Request for all private emails and text messages between elected City leaders about any City business over an eight month period. In an attempt to delay the release, the City of El Paso sued Abbott and Allala, claiming it has no way of gathering the documents, and that the only person who has the power to do so is El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza.

Allala and the City of El Paso have both filed briefs in the case, set for oral arguments on May 22nd. However, an attorney for Greg Abbott has sent a letter to the Third Court of Appeals, stating Abbott agrees with the City of El Paso’s position that private emails and texts about city business by elected leaders can never be seen by the public. Were it the law of the land, it would result in state-sanctioned corruption. Attached please find Ms. Allala’s response to Abbott’s letter.

City v. Allala has changed the way government does business in Texas. Elected leaders across the state are being warned that City v. Allala means they must forward all such communication to an official email account when received or created, as they are all public records.

Stephanie has already spend more than $40,000 in attorneys fees in order to help stomp out corruption in El Paso. If you believe in good government and transparency, please send a check for any amount to: Riggs, Aleshire and Ray, 700 Lavaca, Suite 920, Austin, TX 79701.