Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Governor Rick Perry:

An Inventory of Governor Rick Perry General Counsel General Correspondence at the Texas State Archives, 1995, 1999-2014


Creator: Texas. Governor (2000-2015 : Perry)
Title: Governor Rick Perry General Counsel general correspondence
Dates: 1995, 1999-2014
Abstract: The Office of the General Counsel in the Texas Governor's Office was responsible for providing legal advice to Governor Rick Perry. The general correspondence of Texas Governor Rick Perry's General Counsel consists of incoming and outgoing letters and attachments such as court records, legislation, and one audiocassette tape, dating 1995, 1999-2014. Topics covered in this correspondence concern executive clemency requests, inmate and parole matters, nursing homes and state health services, child protective services, legislative matters, and emergency management and disaster response services after Hurricanes Alex, Katrina, Rita, and Ike, along with fires, droughts, floods, and the West, Texas, explosion.
Quantity: 6 cubic ft. and 958 MB (2,779 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); , accessed on February 26, 2016; the contents of the records; and the 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 Governor's Office was responsible for providing legal advice to Governor Rick Perry. The general correspondence of Texas Governor Rick Perry's General Counsel consists of incoming and outgoing letters and attachments such as court records, legislation, and one audiocassette tape, dating 1995, 1999-2014. Topics covered in this correspondence concern executive clemency requests, inmate and parole matters, nursing homes and state health services, child protective services, and legislative matters. A portion of the records include special project files related to emergency management and disaster response services after Hurricanes Alex, Katrina, Rita, and Ike, along with fires, droughts, floods, and the West, Texas, explosion.

Correspondents include state and federal officials, legislators, local officials, law firms, inmates, companies, board and commission members, and general counsel staff members. Correspondence with state agencies and commissions include Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's office, Texas Department of Human Services, Texas Supreme Court, Texas Department of Transportation, and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, among others. Most of the letters are addressed to Bill Jones or Brian Newby, each of whom served as general counsel to Governor Perry. A portion of the letters are addressed to Mary Ann Wiley, who served as deputy general counsel.

For constituent correspondence, please review the separate finding aid Governor Rick Perry Constituent Communication Office correspondence files.

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 roughly alphabetically in several groups as received from the Governor's Office.


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); driver's license numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.130); grand jury records (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 20.02); 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


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Corporate Names:
Texas. Office of the Governor. Office of the General Counsel.
Subjects (Persons):
Perry, Rick, 1950-
Criminal justice, Administration of--Texas.
Disaster relief--Texas.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005.
Hurricane Rita, 2005.
Hurricane Ike, 2008.
Texas--Politics and government--1951-
Document Types:
Judicial records--Texas.
Legal documents--Texas.
Digital file formats--Texas.
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 general correspondence, 1963-1964, 1975, 1985-2000, bulk 1995-2000, 6.4 cubic ft.
Texas Governor Rick Perry General Counsel execution files, 1970-2014, bulk 1992-2014, 38 cubic ft. and 79.2 MB (50 files)
Texas Governor Rick Perry General Counsel legal opinions and advice, 2000-2014, bulk 2001-2003, 2.5 cubic ft. and 34.42 MB (42 files)
Texas Governor Rick Perry General Counsel litigation files, 1973, 1987, 1990-2014, 33 cubic ft. and 4.58 MB (5 files)
Texas Governor Rick Perry Constituent Communication Office correspondence files, 2001-2015, undated, bulk 2001-2014, 2,636 cubic ft. and 157 GB (1,557,091 files)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Texas Governor Rick Perry General Counsel general correspondence. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 2015/067, 2015/117, 2016/170

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 and on June 9, 2016. 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, May 2016

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 general correspondence, 1995, 1999-2014,
6 cubic ft. and 958 MB (2,779 files)

2015/067-2997 Bobbett, Judy, 1999
[Regarding Brandon Nicholas Odom.]
2015/067-2999 La Belle shipwreck recovery, 2000-2001
Parole release recovery, 2001
Police report on Texas Tech matter, 2001
State Auditor correspondence, 2001
Strategic plans, 2000
Stripling, Warren, 2003
[Request to appointment of commissioner of deeds for Saudi Arabia.]
Texas Access to Justice Commission, 2001, 2004, 2006
Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 2001
Texas Commission on Human Rights, 2001
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, 2001
Texas Narcotics Control Program, 2001
TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) / Jimmie Reeves, 2002
U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, 1999-2001
Austin general, counsel group, November 2001
Booker, Byron,2001
[Parole issue]
Causeway collapse,November 2001
City of Georgetown, special edition,2001
CJD (Criminal Justice Division) Investigation,2001
Coastal Impact Assistance Program,2001
Contingency agreements with the state,2002
Corrections Corp of America (CCA),2001
Correspondence, general, volume 1,2000-2005
Supreme Court of Texas, Board of Disciplinary Appeals grants impunity to corporate lawyers; claims no alleged violation of rules, etc.,2002
[wallet, binder]
Mabee nursing home situation, Texas Department of Human Services, 2001
2015/067-3006 Annexation info (Texas Department of Transportation), 2001-2004
[2 wallets]
[Regarding agreements, deeds and easements.]
Alcegueire, Jude v. Texas Department of Saving & Mortgage Lending, 2006
Brown, Fred, complaints, 2005
[1 audiocassette tape]
Certificates of Completion, Public Information Act, Open Meetings Act, March 2006
General, volume 10, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
General, volume 9, 2006-2011
General, volume 7, 2007
General, volume 6, 2006
General, volume 5, 2004, 2006
General, volume 4, 2006
General, volume 3, 2005-2006
2015/067-3010 General, volume 2, 2002-2004
Attorney General, 2003-2006
General, inmate, 2007-2014
(Brian) Newby, 2004-2007
Federal Voting Assistance Program, 2003-2005
Death Penalty, 2000-2005
Death Row Magistrate's Guide, January 2000
Denton State School, 2008
Heimlich, Edmund, 2004-2005
Interstate compact, TDCJ, 2002-2006
Lewis, Shirley, 2004-2005
[Regarding Denise Francis.]
Long Center File, 2007
Mawyer, Martin, J., Christian Action Network, 2009
Miscellaneous, 2001-2005
Mohr, Debbie, Texas Enterprise Fund, February 2004
Medina, Judge, 2004
Perry - Medical / Absent from state, 2001-2004
Polland, Gary, Central Life Insurance Company, 2004
Romney, Mitt, Governor of Massachusetts, 2004
Salazar, Adam, 2007
Somers, Dawn v. Texas Department of Transportation, 2007
SWCAP, Supreme Court of Texas, The Court of Criminal Appeals, 2007
Dr. Orly Taitz, 2009
Texas Commission on Human Rights, 2004
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, 2007
Texans for Lawsuit Reform, 2008
2015/067-3005 Court documents related to Adam Salazar, 2007
[2 wallets]
Terracina, Roy, Child Protective Agency, 2004
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), 2001-2004
UN Special Rapporteur, 2008
University of Texas System, 2012
The Road More Traveled endorsement request, 2006
2016/170-1 Hurricane Katrina:
Actions taken by agencies in response to Hurricane Katrina, 2005-2006
Agency procedures for statutory, 2005
Alabama request for hurricane rebuilding grant application, 2005
Architects emergency applications, 2005
Barber Cosmo (Cosmetology) licensure, 2005
Certified American Red Cross activity leave, 2005
Grassley/Baucus tax relief package, 2006
Correspondence, 2005-2006
Dialysis and transplant contact information, 2005
DIR (Department of Information Resources) emergency response proposal, 2005
Disaster declaration, 2005
Donations Management Operations Guide, 2006
Driver's license or ID cards, 2005
Emergency Suspension of Statute, 2005
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), 2005
(Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in Texas), survey by Texas Health and Human Services Commission, August 2006
Executive order, 2005
Federal funding, 2006
Florida Hurricane Relief Fund, 2006
Follow up on emergency rulemaking, 2005
Funeral directors, 2005
Bloomberg article, 2005
Bond questions, 2005
Health and Human Services for Katrina relief, 2005
Higher education, 2005
Hotel occupancy tax, 2005
Hurricane action items, 2005
Info on efforts to identify evacuee offenders, 2005
Information for evacuees, 2005
Louisiana executive orders in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, 2006
Louisiana parolee and probationers list, 2005
Marine vessel waiver (Motiva Refinery in Port Arthur), 2005
Memorandum of understanding proclamation, 2005
Message from State Bar President Eduardo R. Rodriguez, 2005
Miscellaneous, 2005-2006
Motor fuels, 2005
National guard, 2006
Licensing and examinations, 2005
Nonresident Enrollment Cap, 2005
Number of available apartment units in Texas, 2005
OneStar Relief Efforts, 2005
Parolees in Texas, May 2006
Plumbers, Emergency Proclamation actions, 2005
Press releases, 2005
Professional schools, 2005
Public affairs, Katrina participation, 2005
Public Assistance (PA) Program costs, 2005
Reports, 2005-2006
Repository, 2005
State active duty, 2005
State travel services for evacuees, 2005
Texas Animal Health Commission response, 2005
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 2006
Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management, 2005
Texas Real Estate Commission, 2005
Texas rebounds, 2006
Texas residency requirements, 2005
Texas State Board of Pharmacy, 2005
Texas State Guard, 2005
Waiver for state jobs for Los Angeles attorneys, 2005
Waiver, medicaid, 2005
Waiver, submission to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), 2005
Waivers, 2006
Louisiana offenders, 2008-2009
Hurricane Ike, 2006
2016/170-2 Hurricane Ike, disaster area bonds, 2010, 2012
Hurricane Rita
Debris removal and emergency protective measures, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, 2008-2009
Central Power and Light Co., impairment opinion, 2002-2003, 2005
Correspondence, 2005-2006
Disaster Assistance Grants, Federal Assistance to individuals and households, 2005
Dual Status Commander, memorandum of agreement, 2005
Emergency declaration and agency action question, 2005
Emergency order on enlargement of time, September 2005
FEMA, 2005-2006
Grant agreement, 2006
Hotel and motel taxes, 2005
HUD, 2006
Humana prescription refills, 2005
Memorandum of understanding, 2005
Miscellaneous, 2005-2006
National Guard, 2005
Open meetings, 2005
Power restoration, 2005
Red Cross trained state employees, 2005
Reports, 2006
Resource page, 2006
Sexually violent predators (SVP) lockdown, 2006
Task Force on Evacuation, Transportation and Logistics, 2006
Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), 2005-2006
Texas Department of Insurance, 2005
Texas Department of Transportation update, 2005
Texas Military Forces, 2005
Texas rebounds, February 2006
Texas response to Rita, 2006
Waiver for motor carriers, 2005
E2015/117 Adjutant General, Texas Military Forces, June-August 2014
[National Guard request for permission to enter Texas to conduct training requirements to assist U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.]
Crime Stoppers, November 2013
Criminal Justice Division,June 2010
Economic Development:
Bank folder,May 2009
Capital Stakeholder Program,2008-2009
Emergency Management:
Hurricane Alex,June-July 2010
Hurricane Ike,September 2008-June 2010
Hurricane Katrina,September 2005-January 2006
Hurricane Rita,2005-2008
Drought,2009, 2011
Fires,2008-2009, 2011
Fireworks,2008-2009, 2011-2012
Floods,2008, 2012-2014
LP (liquefied petroleum) Gas,January 22, 2014
Memos,July 2008
West explosion,April-July 2013
West Nile virus,August 2012
Winter ice storm,January 2013
Research and Memos:
Abu Dhabi,August 2006
Colorado Street Mansion security, February 2011
Interns' research, 2003-2014
SSA's (Social Security Administration) Computer Data Agreement, April 2012
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 1995
Texas Film Commission, March 2014