|Submitted||March 8, 2018|
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March 8th, 2018
Texas Secretary of State
Texas Public Information Act, open records request, Campaign Finance & Expenditure
Former Leon County, Texas, District Attorney, Mr. Whitney Smith
To Whom It May Concern:
Under the Texas Public Information Act, I hereby request the following records within 10 days per statute: Any records regarding former officeholder and candidate: Whitney Smith, Leon County, Texas, District Attorney, for all years, 2003 and all subsequent years up to and including 2017.
I allow for the editing of information which is not able to be released under statute. No documents should be withheld, but only if necessary, information not able to be released under law may be edited.
The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.
If there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
The requested records should specifically include but not be limited to the following:
-Campaign finance, contributions and expenditure reports
I submitted an open record request with the Leon County, Texas, Elections Administrator Donna Golden.
Ms. Golden said she does not maintain these records and advised one should go to the Leon County Clerk's Office or the Texas Secretary of State on February 21st, 2018.
I submitted an open record request with Christie Wakefield, Leon County Texas District Clerk and she replied that she has no responsive records and I should do a request with your office, Texas Secretary of State.
The Texas Ethics Commission is currently processing a request for personal financial statements required to be filed by some filers but they do not maintain the campaign finance and expenditure reports and directed me to the County Clerk, County Elections Administrator or County Tax Accessor.
If you do not maintain these records I would appreciate it if you could direct me to the appropriate organization which would maintain the records I seek.
/S/ Rev. L.R. Jackson
Reverend L.R. Jackson
Thank you for contacting the Texas Secretary of State. You requested under the Public Information Act, Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code (the "PIA") the following:
* "Any records regarding former officeholder and candidate: Whitney Smith, Leon County, Texas, District Attorney, for all years, 2003 and all subsequent years up to and including 2017."
* "The requested records should specifically include but not be limited to the following:
o -Campaign finance, contributions and expenditure reports"
Please note that we do not have any information responsive your specific request for "Campaign finance, contributions and expenditure reports." These records are not filed with the Office of the Texas Secretary of State. However, you may wish to check with the County Tax Assessor, if you have already determined that the records are not maintained by either the County Clerk or by the County Elections Administrator.
Although it appears you are primarily interested in obtaining copies of campaign finance and expenditure reports that we do not maintain, the wording of your request ("all records," including but not limited to"), encompasses a large volume of records that are permitted or required by law to be filed with the Texas Secretary of State. Section 552.222(b) provides that if a large amount of information has been requested, the governmental body may discuss with the requestor how the scope of the request might be narrowed. Consequently, we need some clarification with respect to the types of records you are asking us to search.
Are you requesting records regarding Whitney Smith from our Elections Division, our Business Entities Filings Section, our Uniform Commercial Code and Lien Notice Filings Section, our Registrations Unit, our Notaries Public Unit, Our Service of Process Unit, or our Authentications Unit? Are you requesting copies of any correspondence that we may have sent to Whitney Smith in acknowledgement of receipt of his filings/submission by the business sections named above? Are you seeking copies of any general correspondence, if any, received from or sent to Whitney Smith, in his individual capacity as opposed to his official capacity during that timeframe? Alternatively, are you specifically requesting records that we may have for Whitney Smith, as an "officeholder"? In short, are you requesting copies of this officeholder's Oath of Office or Statement of Officer? If so, the Elections Division is able to search its records for statements/oaths that may have been received and filed during the requested time period. What information, if any, are you seeking regarding Whitney Smith as a "candidate"? We ask for clarification because the time needed to search our records for any responsive documents will be reduced if you are able to provide us with some clarification regarding the nature of the records you are requesting or if you are able to narrow the scope of your request.
Please note that under Section of 552.222 of the PIA, if you do not respond in writing to this request for clarification within sixty one days of this communication, your request for information is deemed by Texas law to be withdrawn.
The Secretary of State is a strong supporter of open government, and this Office is ready and willing to respond to any and all public information requests. However, we must require that requests have sufficient indicia of what information is being sought, so that we may fulfill our duties under the PIA.
If you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (512) 463-5770 or at GeneralCounsel@sos.texas.gov<mailto:GeneralCounsel@sos.texas.gov>.
Thank you for your inquiry to our office.
Carmen Flores, Director
Business & Public Filings Division
Acting General Counsel
FAX (512) 475-2781
Thank you for your reply.
We are not seeking information for Whitney Smith personally and only that of an officeholder.
If you would please do a search for "copies of this officeholder's Oath of Office or Statement of Officer?"
/S/ Rev. L.R. Jackson
Reverend L.R. Jackson