FOI Foundation files brief supporting release of lawmaker’s records

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas in a brief filed with Attorney General Greg Abbott has urged that a lawmaker’s records related to the American Legislative Exchange Council be made public.

The FOI Foundation brief supports the position of the Center for Media and Democracy, which sought to obtain records from Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, pertaining to ALEC, a conservative think tank.

Klick and the American Legislative Exchange Council have argued to the attorney general that their communications are immune to release under the Texas Public Information Act.

“The communications between Rep. Klick and ALEC are governmental information, to which the public has a qualified First Amendment right of access,” attorney Joe Larsen wrote in the FOI Foundation brief dated Aug. 28.

Larsen, a foundation board member, noted that arguments by Klick and ALEC are inconsistent with each other. Klick cited an exception to release under the governmental deliberative process, while ALEC cited its First Amendment right of association.

Rather than closing the public off from a governmental body’s deliberations, Larsen said the real purpose of the First Amendment is to further the “free trade in ideas,” which is done through transparency, not in secret.

The Attorney General’s Office is expected to rule in a few weeks.