Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency in case of Bernard A. Ryan, Jr. v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, dated August 14, 1981.
Gordon W. Gerber, with him Bernard A. Ryan, Jr., Dechert, Price & Rhoads, for petitioner.
John D. Killian, General Counsel, with him Thomas W. Scott, Killian & Gephart, for respondent.
Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 124]
The petitioner, Barnard A. Ryan, Jr., seeks review of a decision of the Pennsylvania Higher Education
[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 125]
Assistance Agency (PHEAA) which refused to allow him access to certain documents which he requested pursuant to the Act of June 21, 1957, P.L. 390, as amended, 65 P.S. §§ 66.1 -- 66.4 (Right to Know Act).
The petitioner, a member of the Pennsylvania bar, sought access to a number of contracts to which the PHEAA was a party, but the PHEAA refused to make the requested documents available unless the petitioner would disclose whom he represented, why he wanted the documents and how they would be used. He then filed a petition for review with this Court seeking to compel disclosure of the contracts and the PHEAA filed preliminary objections and a motion to quash the petition. A memorandum opinion and order were handed down by Judge Rogers of this Court dismissing Count II of the petition for review, but overruling the PHEAA's motion to quash Count I.*fn1 Ryan v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (No. 2234 C.D. 1981, filed December 10, 1981). Resolution of the merits of the petition was reserved for decision by this panel.
The petitioner maintains that he, as a citizen of the Commonwealth, has a personal right to seek access to documents under Section 66.2 of the Right to Know Act,*fn2 65 P.S. § 66.2, and that the contracts which he sought here were clearly public records under Section 66.1(2) of the Right to Know Act, 65 P.S. § 66.1(2).
[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 126]
He argues that they were "contracts dealing with the receipt or disbursement of funds by an agency or its acquisition, use or disposal of services or of supplies, materials, equipment or other property. . . ." Id.
The PHEAA has here renewed its motion to quash, contending that this Court has no jurisdiction in the instant case because the petitioner was an attorney who admittedly represented a client who was not a citizen of the Commonwealth and could not therefore seek disclosure of documents under the Right to Know Act and that the petitioner ...