A career bureaucrat is hiding his emails from Texans, saying it will cost more than $36,000 to view them.
For bureaucrats, keeping information out of the public’s hands is almost second nature. For Hillary Clinton the answer was to push her emails onto a private server and then redact them before being forced to hand them over to the FBI.
For Tom Harrison at the Texas County and District Retirement System (TCDRS), his answer is equally evasive. TCDRS says they’ll make Harrison’s emails available—but at a cost too high for anyone to afford.
Tipped off by concerned citizens, Texas Scorecard submitted a public information act request to TCDRS relating to communications between members of the Texas Legislature and Tom Harrison, who at the time was the vice chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission. Harrison appears to have been working in violation of state law as an unregistered lobbyist for TCDRS while serving on the commission.
As soon as our record requests went in, Harrison resigned his position from the ethics commission.
As a member of the TEC, Harrison has worked in recent years to regulate citizens’ constitutionally protected speech as “lobbying” in an effort to chill criticism of incumbent politicians.
On June 22nd, Texas Scorecard requested copies of emails sent or received by Tom Harrison at TCDRS over the past two legislative sessions. Two days later, he resigned his post on the TEC.
State law prohibits persons who are required to register as lobbyists from serving on the TEC.
TCDRS took their time responding to the request. After a two week delay, the quasi-governmental body responded with a price tag of almost $36,000.00, saying “there is no less costly way for you to review the information.”
That’s $8,000 higher than the average salary in Texas. Harrison appears to be attempting to put his emails out of reach of the public.
Previously, emails uncovered from the legislature show that Harrison has engaged in typical lobbyist activities. Recently he emailed legislators to invite them for dinner and “entertainment” at a private club located inside Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium.
What are he and TCDRS hiding?