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August 12, 1999

Mr. Scott Fawcett
Legal Counsel
Open Records Division
Comptroller of Public Accounts
LBJ State Office Building
111 East 17th Street
Austin, Texas 78774

OR99-2308

Dear Mr. Fawcett:

You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 126387.

The Comptroller of Public Accounts (the "comptroller") received a request for information concerning the Temple of Anubis's application for tax exempt status as a non-profit church. You assert that the submitted information is excepted from required public disclosure by section 552.111 of the Government Code. We have considered the exception you claim and reviewed the submitted information.

Section 552.111 excepts "an interagency or intraagency memorandum or letter that would not be available by law to a party in litigation with the agency." In Open Records Decision No. 615 (1993), this office reexamined the predecessor to the section 552.111 exception in light of the decision in Texas Department of Public Safety v. Gilbreath, 842 S.W.2d 408 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, no writ), and held that section 552.111 excepts only those internal communications consisting of advice, recommendations, opinions, and other material reflecting the policymaking processes of the governmental body.

Generally, section 552.111 does not except from disclosure purely factual information that is severable from the opinion portions of internal memoranda. Open Records Decision No. 615 at 4-5 (1993). Yet, where a document is a genuine preliminary draft that has been released or is intended for release in final form, factual information in that draft which also appears in a released or releasable final version is excepted from disclosure by section 552.111. Open Records Decision No. 559 (1990). However, severable factual information appearing in the draft but not in the final version is not excepted by section 552.111. Id.

You have submitted a draft of a letter as well as highlighted information which you assert constitute the recommendation of staff members concerning the temple's application. We agree that you may withhold the submitted information under section 552.111.

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 on as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have any questions regarding this ruling, please contact our office.

Sincerely,

Yen-Ha Le
Assistant Attorney General
Open Records Division

YHL/nc

Ref.: ID# 126387

Encl.: Submitted documents

cc: Mr. Lacey D. Henager, D.D.
4159 Polaris, #1063
Irving, Texas 75038
(w/o enclosures)


 

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