hopperbach


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Investigating the investigator

Mark Levin of the Landmark Legal Foundation has filed a FOIA request with Travis County DA Ronnie Earle in an attempt to learn about any ties he may have with certain Democratic organizations. It probably won't get anywhere but I like this man's nerve.

Here is the full text:

BY FIRST CLASS MAIL AND FACSIMILE Fax: (512) 854-9695

October 4, 2005

Mr. Ronnie Earle District Attorney Travis County 509 W.11th St. Austin, TX 78701

APPLICATION FOR PRODUCTION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION

Dear Mr. Earle:

This is an application for production of public information pursuant to Sec. 552.221 of the Texas Public Information Act.

Landmark Legal Foundation (“Landmark”) requests that that your office provide copies of requested material to Landmark’s Leesburg, Virginia address pursuant to Sec. 552.221(b)(2). The following information is sought from your office:

REQUESTED INFORMATION

1. For the time period January 1, 2000 to October 4, 2005: Any and all information in the Travis County District Attorney’s Office (“DA”) , or in the custody or control of any individual working for said office, which name or in any way reference the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”); any entity, campaign committee, employee, agent or consultant of the DNC; DNC Chairman Howard Dean; the Texas Democratic Party; any entity, campaign committee, employee, agent or consultant of the Texas Democratic Party; Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting; any members of the Texas state legislature; Texas State Representative Pete Laney; and former Congressman Martin Frost.

The information must include, but is not limited to, calendars, agendas, schedules, notes, notations, letters, audio tapes, and/or video tapes. (For a more comprehensive definition of public information, see below.)

2. This request seeks all telephonic records (including but not limited to cell phone numbers) in the custody of the DA’s office, or in the custody of any individual working for said office, or to which the DA’s office has or can receive access, disclosing telephone calls to or from Mr. Earle for the time period August 1, 2005 to October 4, 2005. This request includes all information, regardless of format, including but not limited to bills or invoices disclosing telephonic communications.

3. This request seeks all telephone messages, logs, notes or notations prepared by anyone in the DA’s office for Mr. Earle, including but not limited to Mr. Earle’s secretary, receptionist and or office administrator or manager, for the time period August 1, 2005 to October 4, 2005.

4. This request seeks all telephone numbers (including but not limited to cell phone numbers) of Mr. Earle.

5. This request seeks all information in the custody of the DA’s office, or in the custody or control of any individual working for said office, which name or in any way reference Messrs. Mark Birnbaum, Jim Schermbeck, or their employees, agents or representatives, or the filming of their movie “The Big Buy” which cover the period of January 1, 2002 to October 4, 2005. This includes all telephonic records of communications involving Mr. Earle, the DA’s office, and Messrs. Birnbaum or Schermbeck.

6. This request seeks any copies of the film, or parts of the film The Big Buy, in whatever stage of production, in the possession of Mr. Earle, the DA’s office, or any employee of said office.

Pursuant to Sec. 552.002(a) public information means information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business: (1) by a governmental body; or (2) for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it. Moreover, Sec. 552.002(b) provides that the media on which public information is recorded include: (1) paper; (2) film; (3) a magnetic, optical, or solid state device that can store an electronic signal; (4) tape; (5) Mylar; (6) linen; (7) silk; and (8) vellum. Furthermore, Sec. 552.002(c) provides that the general forms in which the media containing public information exist include a book, paper, letter, document, printout, photograph, film, tape, microfiche, microfilm, photostat, sound recording, map, and drawing and a voice, data, or video representation held in computer memory.

This request includes all information, regardless of format. Moreover, it includes information stored on back-up data files, including disks and recordings of electronic communications.

This request for information does not seek any information exempt from release pursuant to Sec. 552.108 in that such release would not impede legitimate law enforcement or prosecutorial activities. Moreover, information relating to improper or illegal conduct by the DA or any person acting on behalf of or in the employment of the DA’s office is not exempt from disclosure under any exemption set forth in Chapter 552.

In the event that the DA asserts an exemption in response to this application, Landmark will expect timely compliance with the DA’s duty pursuant to Sec. 552.301 to seek an Attorney General’s decision as to the legitimacy of the exemption asserted.

Landmark is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization and seeks this information for public dissemination and education. Landmark respectfully requests a waiver or reduction of charges for providing copies of the requested information pursuant to Sec. 552.267 as the information sought is “in the public interest because providing the cop[ies] . . . primarily benefits the general public.” Landmark will, in fact, make this information public upon receipt. If a fee waiver is refused Landmark agrees to pay reasonable duplication costs up to $1500.00, but requests a timely itemized estimate of charges prior to incurring those costs as provided in Sec. 552.2615 via facsimile to Landmark’s Leesburg, Virginia office at 703-554-6119. However, Landmark agrees that duplication and release of records may proceed up to the $1500.00 amount immediately.

Sec. 552.221(d) requires that you act “promptly [and] without delay” -- within the 10 days provided in. If you have any questions, or wish to discuss this request further, please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

Mark R. Levin President

cc: Ms. Alicia Perez, Executive Manager Administrative Operations Travis County 314 W. 11th St. Austin, TX 78701


Technorati Tags: , , ,