Open Records Policies and Procedures

What is an "open records request"?

An open records request is a request for public information contained in the files or records of a Texas governmental agency, including the Finance Commission (the "Commission").

An open records or public information request must be for inspection or copies of an existing document or record. We are not required to generate a new document in order to respond to a request.

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What is "public information"?

Public information is any information collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or in connection with the transaction of official business by a governmental body, or for a governmental body if the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it.

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How do I request public information?

The Executive Director of the Finance Commission is Charles G. Cooper, who is also the Texas Department of Banking Commissioner. Any request for public information from the Finance Commission should be directed to the Executive Director of the Finance Commission.

To request public information from us, the request must be in writing, and must be mailed, hand-delivered, faxed or e-mailed to us as follows:

Hand-delivered and mailed requests:
Executive Director
Finance Commission of Texas
2601 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78705

Telephone inquiries: 877-276-5554 or 512-475-1300
Open Records Fax requests: 512-475-1313
E-Mail requests: open.records@fc.texas.gov

 
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What should I include in my request?

Complete contact information is essential, so be sure to include your name, address, and telephone number. This additional information is particularly important if you submit an email request. Describe the documents that you desire with as much specificity as possible. If you don't know exactly what documents may be involved, describe the information you desire as specifically as possible, and we will determine if responsive documents exist. If your description is not clear or could result in a very large number of documents, we will contact you to determine if the request can be clarified or narrowed. You may disclose your purpose to us if you believe that knowledge will help us locate the documents you seek, but this disclosure is not requested or required. We are prohibited by law from asking you the purpose of your request.

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How long will it take to fill my request?

We will fill a request for clearly public information in a reasonable time, but in no event later than 10 business days after receipt of the request. If you have a particular need for expedited treatment, we will attempt to meet that need, but cannot guarantee we can do so.

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Is there any public information maintained by the Commission that I cannot inspect or obtain a copy of?

Possibly. We have oversight and control over three agencies: the Texas Department of Banking, the Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending, and the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner. Although we do not routinely maintain information in our files and records specifically relating to an entity regulated by one of our supervised agencies, to the extent that such information is maintained, it is subject to the same statutory confidentiality provisions or other exceptions to public disclosure that apply to the same information in the files and records of the particular agency. You can find a description of the confidentiality provisions or other disclosure exceptions which apply to entities regulated by the Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending, the Department of Banking, and the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner on their websites in the Open Records Policy.

In addition, the Public Information Act itself provides certain exceptions to disclosure. Although not an all-inclusive list, we will generally withhold the following documents or information:

  • With respect to our present and former employees or officials who affirmatively so elect, the telephone number, home address, social security number, or information that reveals whether the employee or official has family members. Gov't Code §552.024.

  • Information in our personnel files the disclosure of which would be a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy. Gov't Code §552.102.

  • Internal memoranda or documents which reflect advice, recommendations, and opinions reflecting our policy-making processes. Gov't Code §552.111.

  • Information subject to attorney-client privilege. Gov't Code §552.107.

  • Other information that involves details of intimate personal affairs, and for which the public has no particular cognizable interest. Gov't Code §552.101.

If we withhold information that we consider to be confidential, we are required to request an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General on the propriety of not disclosing the information, unless an opinion specifically dealing with the information at issue has previously been issued. You will receive a copy of any correspondence requesting an opinion and are entitled to submit a response to the Attorney General if you disagree with our decision. You will also receive a copy of the Attorney General's response.

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Will personal information that I provide to the Commission be disclosed?

Our policy is to respect an individual's privacy to the extent permitted by the exceptions, both mandatory and discretionary, set forth in the Finance Code and Government Code. Consequently, personal information you provide to us, such as your name, address, e-mail address, or the specific information that you requested, will be disclosed only to the extent necessary to comply with the law.

Generally, your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, written request for public information, and the fact that you contacted us, as evidenced by our records of that contact, will constitute public information that we might be required to disclose.

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What does it cost to receive public information?

The permissible charges for public information may be found at 1 TAC Part 3 §70.1 et seq. In general, if the number of copies in your request is 50 or less, the charge will be $0.10 per page plus the cost of postage (or other delivery method, at your request); if more than 50 pages, the charge will be $0.10 per page plus personnel costs necessary to compile the documents at a rate of $18.00 per hour, in addition to the charge for postage. We do not ask for payment if the total of charges is less than $10.00. We may alter this general rule in certain circumstances, although typically not by a significant amount. If you are concerned about the cost of a request, please feel free to contact the Executive Director at 512-936-6222.

If the estimated cost of fulfilling your request exceeds $40.00, we will provide you with an itemized written statement of the cost, and indicate if a less costly alternative is available. You must respond in writing within 10 days after the date the estimate is sent that you will accept the cost, or that you desire any stated alternative, or your request will be considered withdrawn.

Subsequent to your response, if it appears the actual cost will be more than 20 % above the estimate previously given, we will again notify you by providing a revised written estimate. Again, if you do not respond within 10 days, your request will be considered withdrawn.

If actual charges exceed $40.00, you will not have to pay more than the estimate contained in the last revised written estimate that you accepted. If only the initial written estimate was provided and accepted, your cost will not exceed 120% of the initial estimate. If no written estimate was provided, you will pay $40.00.

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When do I pay for the information provided?

We normally will provide the requested documents prior to payment and invoice you for the charges. If the estimated cost exceeds $100 and we have provided you with the written estimate described above, we may require that you provide a deposit in that amount prior to fulfilling your request. If you have an unpaid invoice from a previous request, you will be required to pay for the present request in full prior to delivery. In addition, if previous unpaid invoices exceed $100, we will require a deposit equal to the previous unpaid invoices prior to fulfilling the present request.