Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Governor Rick Perry:

An Inventory of Governor Rick Perry General Counsel Legal Opinions and Advice Records at the Texas State Archives, 2000-2014, bulk 2001-2003



Overview

Creator: Texas. Governor (2000-2015 : Perry)
Title: Governor Rick Perry General Counsel legal opinions and advice records
Dates: 2000-2014
Dates (Bulk): bulk 2001-2003
Abstract: The Office of the General Counsel in the Texas Office of the Governor was responsible for providing legal advice to Governor Rick Perry. These records of legal opinions and advice consist of correspondence and memoranda maintained by the Office of the General Counsel during Governor Rick Perry's tenure, dating 2000-2014, bulk 2001-2003. The memos contain analysis, opinions, or advice on a variety of issues handled by the governor's office, including contracts, deeds, patents, warranties, easements, litigation, settlements, bond issuance, resignations and appointments, legislative matters, extradition, and policy matters.
Quantity: 2.5 cubic ft. and 34.42 MB (42 files)
Language: These materials are written predominately in English with scattered Spanish throughout.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Agency History

The governor of Texas is the chief executive officer of the state, elected by the citizens every four years. The duties and responsibilities of the governor include serving as commander-in-chief of the state's military forces; convening special sessions of the legislature for specific purposes; delivering to the legislature at the beginning of each regular session a report on the condition of the state, an accounting of all public money under the governor's control, a recommended biennial budget, an estimate of the amounts of money required to be raised by taxation and any recommendations he deems necessary; signing or vetoing bills passed by the legislature; and executing the laws of the state. The governor can grant reprieves and commutations of punishment and pardons upon the recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and revoke conditional pardons. He appoints numerous state officials (with the consent of the senate), fills vacancies in state and district offices (except vacancies in the legislature), calls special elections to fill vacancies in the legislature, fills vacancies in the United States Senate until an election can be held and serves as ex officio member of several state boards.

The office of governor was first established by the Constitution of 1845 and superseded the office of president of the Republic of Texas. The position now exists under authority of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution of 1876 and Texas Government Code, Chapter 401. To be elected governor, a person must be at least thirty years old, a United States citizen and a resident of Texas for at least five years preceding the election. In 1972, the term of office was extended from two to four years, effective in 1975. Since 1856 the governor has had the use of the Governor's Mansion.

In 2014 there were 277.4 full-time equivalent employees in the Office of the Governor. Nineteen divisions outside of the Executive Office assist the governor in carrying out his functions: Scheduling and Advance; Office of the First Lady; Administration; Appointments; Legislative; Communications; Budget, Planning, and Policy; General Counsel; Internal Audit; Constituent Communication; Criminal Justice; Economic Development and Tourist Development; Governor's Commission for Women; Office of Financial Accountability; Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities; Texas Film Commission; Texas Music Office; Texas Workforce Investment Council; and Office of State-Federal Relations.

The General Counsel position within the Texas Office of the Governor was created in October 1973 when the Executive Director of the Governor's Criminal Justice Division appointed an individual as General Counsel, to assist him in providing statute interpretations and in other matters relating to policies and procedures. Today the Office of the General Counsel is a separate division in the Governor's Office.

Duties of the General Counsel include providing statute interpretations; tracking inmates on death row as their cases move through the judicial process including all appeals to the governor for commutations or stays of execution; handling pardon requests sent to the governor; reviewing proposed settlements, land patents, grant requests, contracts, easements, and deeds for the governor; analyzing proposed legislation and regulations for validity and legal effect; assisting appointments staff in determining eligibility and other legal issues related to proposed appointments; handling extradition and requisition matters; coordinating ethics guidelines and training for the governor's office; advising the governor on federal programs administered by the state; coordinating the governor's criminal justice policy with the governor's Policy Director; and providing legal advice and handling litigation filed against the governor or the Governor's Office, in conjunction with actions of the Attorney General on the governor's behalf.

(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); Office of the Governor, accessed on February 26, 2016; the contents of the records; and the Texas Governor's Office website during Governor Perry's term, accessed via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine on February 29, 2016.)


Rick Perry Biographical Sketch

Rick Perry served as governor of Texas from December 20, 2000 to January 20, 2015.

James Richard "Rick" Perry was the 47th governor of Texas. He was born on March 4, 1950 in Haskell, Texas to Joseph Ray Perry and Amelia June (Holt) Perry. In 1972, he received a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in animal science. Perry then served as a pilot with the United States Air Force from 1972 to 1977 and was discharged in 1977 with the rank of captain. Perry was elected to the Texas House of Representatives (District 64) as a Democrat in 1984 and served until 1991. He was named one of the 10 most effective lawmakers by the Dallas Morning News in 1989. In the same year, Perry changed his party allegiance, becoming a Republican. Perry left the House of Representatives to serve two terms as Commissioner of Agriculture, from 1991 to 1999. He was a member of the U.S. Trade Representative's Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on International Trade; the executive committee, Southern U.S. Trade Association; and president of the Southern Association of Trade Departments of Agriculture (from 1992 to 1993). He was elected lieutenant governor in 1998, taking office in January of 1999. Perry became governor to complete the term of Governor George W. Bush who left the office in December 2000 to become president of the United States. Perry was first elected governor of Texas on November 5, 2002 and then reelected on November 7, 2006 and November 2, 2010.

As governor, Perry focused primarily on issues of economy, education, and security, especially along the Texas-Mexico border. He espoused fiscal conservatism, opposing a state income tax and focusing on job growth and business incentives throughout his governorship. As the longest serving Texas governor, Perry capitalized on the main power assigned to him by the Texas Constitution, appointing the majority of sitting members of every state board or commission. In the field of health care, Perry signed several bills governing abortion procedures and funding. Perry issued an executive order mandating that all Texas girls receive the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine on February 2, 2007. The order was overturned by the state legislature the following August.

On August 13, 2011, Perry announced he would be running for president in 2012. However, after a controversial campaign and a low showing in the Iowa caucuses, Perry dropped out of the presidential race on January 19, 2012. Perry later ran for president again, announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on June 4, 2015. He officially suspended his campaign on September 11, 2015.

On August 15, 2014, Perry was indicted by a grand jury on felony charges for abuse of power. The indictment specifically included two charges: abuse of official capacity (a first-degree felony) and coercion of a public servant (a third-degree felony). Perry was accused of coercing Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg (who had been convicted of drunk driving) to resign by threatening to veto funding for the Public Integrity Unit, a group of state public corruption prosecutors. Perry was officially cleared of all charges in February 2016.

Perry married Anita Thigpen in 1982. They have two children, Griffin and Sydney.

(Sources include: Texas State Directory, 2014; the Texas Governor's Office website during Governor Perry's term at http://www.governor.state.tx.us, accessed on December 22, 2014; the Texas Governor's Office website during Governor Perry's term at https://wayback.archive-it.org/414/*/http:/www.governor.state.tx.us/homeland, dated November 17, 2014; Jeff Zeleny and Michael D. Shear, "Perry to End Bid for Presidency," New York Times, January 19, 2012, accessed on January 19, 2012; Theodore Schleifer, "Rick Perry drops out of 2016 presidential race - CNNPolitics.com," CNN, September 11, 2015, accessed on September 13, 2015; Benjy Sarlin, "Rick Perry indicted for abuse of power by grand jury," MSNBC, August 12, 2014, accessed on August 17, 2014; and Eugene Scott, "Court dismisses one criminal charge against Perry," CNN, July 24, 2015, accessed on July 26, 2015; and Carrie Dann, "Texas Court Dismisses Second Felony Charge Against Rick Perry", February 24, 2016, accessed on April 8, 2016.)


Scope and Contents of the Records

The Office of the General Counsel in the Texas Office of the Governor was responsible for providing legal advice to Governor Rick Perry. These records of legal opinions and advice consist of correspondence and memoranda maintained by the Office of the General Counsel during Governor Rick Perry's tenure, dating 1985-1989, 2000-2014, bulk 2001-2003. The memos contain analysis, opinions, or advice on a variety of issues handled by the governor's office, including contracts, deeds, patents, warranties, easements, litigation, settlements, bond issuance, resignations and appointments, legislative matters, extradition, and policy matters. The majority of the records are from the General Counsel or Deputy General Counsel to the governor and his executive assistants; staff in other divisions of the office, such as Economic Development and Tourism and Office of the First Lady; other agencies, such as Comptroller of Public Accounts, Attorney General's Office, and Secretary of State; and private legal firms. Staff names appearing frequently are Bill Jones, David M. Medina and Brian Newby, who each served as Governor Perry's General Counsel during Perry's term as governor.

Some memos have attachments, including correspondence (usually with state or other governmental bodies), copies of laws and statutes, printouts of the results of online legal research, legal documents (largely deeds, easements, land patents, and some contracts), bonds, certifications, and resolutions.

Some memos to the governor require his approval or denial and his signature, such as settlements, bonds, and deeds. Memos with more detail on settlement offers as well as supporting documentation can be found in the series General Counsel Litigation files. Contract information includes outside counsel, book royalties, and an internal contract log for general counsel staff.

Formats of the original electronic files include word processing or plain text files (.doc, .txt, .pdf), spreadsheets (.xls), and emails (.msg). Digital files presented for public use will generally be PDF for text documents or spreadsheets. Files in their original format are available on request; restrictions may apply.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


Arrangement of the Records

These records are arranged as received from the Governor's Office.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Physical materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Physical materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to: common law privacy (Texas Government Code, Section 552.101), attorney-client privilege (Texas Government Code, Section 552.107), agency memoranda (Texas Government Code, Section 552.111), email addresses (Texas Government Code, Section 552.137), social security numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.147), and information about inmates incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice received from the Board of Pardons and Paroles (Texas Government Code, Section 552.101 (information confidential by law, Texas Government Code, Section 508.313)) an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552).

The researcher may request an interview with an archivist or submit a request by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P. O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), fax (512-463-5436), email (director.librarian@tsl.texas.gov), or see our web page (https://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/customer/pia.html). Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the archivist to accurately identify and locate the information. If our review reveals information that may be excepted by the Public Information Act, we are obligated to seek an open records decision from the Attorney General on whether the records can be released. The Public Information Act allows the Archives ten working days after receiving a request to make this determination. The Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision. Alternately, the Archives can inform you of the nature of the potentially excepted information and if you agree, that information can be redacted or removed and you can access the remainder of the records.

Types of restricted information as listed above apply to paper and electronic records. Some electronic records will not be available through our portal due to such restrictions. Please see Archives staff for further information.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Electronic records described in this finding aid are part of the Texas Digital Archive, available online at https://tsl.access.preservica.com/tda/tx-gov-perry/.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Subjects (Persons):
Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-
Perry, Rick, 1950-
Corporate Names:
Texas. Office of the Governor.Office of the General Counsel.
Subjects:
Legal research--Texas.
Land titles--Registration and transfer--Texas.
Places:
Texas--Politics and government--1951-
Document Types:
Correspondence--Texas--Governors--2000-2014.
Deeds--Texas--Governors--2000-2014.
Memorandums--Texas--Governors--2000-2014.
Contracts--Texas--Governors--2000-2014.
Bonds--Texas--Governors--2000-2014.
Digital file formats--Texas--Governors--2000-2014.
Functions:
Advising Texas governors.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Governor Mark White records, 1947, 1962-1987, undated, bulk 1983-1986, 424.75 cubic ft. (see the series General Counsel files, 1947, 1962-1986, 4.3 cubic ft.)
Texas Governor George W. Bush General Counsel litigation files, 1859, 1880s, 1896, 1905, 1924, 1940s, 1955, 1968-2000, bulk 1995-2000, 20.7 cubic ft., 2 videotapes, 6 audiocassette tapes, 153 maps
Texas Governor George W. Bush General Counsel legal opinions and advice, 1892, 1918, 1921, 1925, 1932, 1942-1944, 1948, 1954, 1956, 1963, 1965, 1968-1969, 1972-2000, 14 cubic ft.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Texas Governor Rick Perry General Counsel legal opinions and advice records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 2015/067, 2015/117

Paper records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Office of the Governor on December 19, 2014 through March 2015. Electronic records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Office of the Governor on January 29, 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Halley Grogan, December 2015


Other Finding Aids

Electronic records described in this finding aid are part of the Texas Digital Archive, available online at https://tsl.access.preservica.com/tda/tx-gov-perry/.


Detailed Description of the Records

Governor Rick Perry General Counsel legal opinions and advice records, 1985-1989, 2000-2014, bulk 2001-2003,
2.5 cubic ft. and 34.42 MB (42 files)

Box
2015/067-2926 Attorney General, opinion request, 2003
[3 folders]
Adjutant General's Department, 2001
AG (Attorney General)'s opinion on civil forfeiture, correspondence, 2002
Attorney General's opinion request, 2004
Bonds, Water Development Board bonds, 2001
Financial disclosure statement, 2001
Jurisdiction of Governor in International Water, 2002
Legal research:
[Official memos stating positions and collected research.]
Acceptance of gifts, 2001
Governor powers, emergency matters, 2001
Injunctions, 2001-2002
Registration, 2001
Robin Hood, 2003
Texas grant, 2001
TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) authority to accept and place paid advertising, 2004
SB (Senate Bill) 536, wrongful incarceration statute, 2001
Box
2015/067-3008 Memberships of Rick Perry, 2000-2001
Pease Mansion, 2001-2002
Secretary of State, 2001-2002
Texas Commission on Private Security, 2000-2001
Texas Council on Workforce & Economic Competitiveness (TCWEC), 2001
Public Information Act (PIA), 2001
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 2001
Texas Department of Transportation, SB (Senate Bill) 725 claims, 2004
Texas Government Code, 2001
Texas Mutual Insurance Board, 2001
TRANs (Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes), 2001
Lucas, Henry Lee, 1985-1989
[2 folders]
[Regarding extradition to Florida.]
Red River Depot, 2003, 2009, 2012-2013
Department of Information (DIR), 2002, 2006-2007
Allen, Ray, resignation, 2006
Baxter, Todd, resignation, 2005-2006
DeLay, Tom, resignation, 2006
Juneteenth Commission, 2004-2005
(University of) Malta (delegation), 2007
Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANs), series 2005 signature package, 2005, 2009
Texas Tech Board of Regents, Gary Paterson, 2004-2005
Settlements, 2015
[wallet]
National Parks, 2006-2007, 2010, 2013
[wallet]
Deeds, patents, warranties and easements, 2014
[wallet]
Deeds, 2011-2013
[wallet]
Box
2015/067-2925 Texas Medical Board, informal AG opinion request, 2007
[wallet]
Governor's Authority and the State Lottery, 2007
HB (House Bill) 3540 Floor Amendment, 2005
Bonds, 2001
[wallet]
Bonds, 2002
[wallet]
Bonds, 2003
[wallet]
Texas-Digital-Archive
E2015/117 Contracts and MOUs (Memorandum of understanding), 2005-2009, 2014
[2.11 MB (34 files)]
Ike Bonds, 2008-2009
[421 KB (8 files)]