Original jurisdiction in case of H. Craig Lewis, State Senator v. Governor Richard Thornburgh and Jay Waldman.
Richard J. Welsh, Legal Counsel, for petitioner.
John Philip Krill, Deputy General Counsel, for respondents.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Craig and MacPhail. Opinion by Judge Craig. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 158]
In this petition for review addressed to our original jurisdiction, the petitioner, Minority Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the Senate of Pennsylvania, has requested that, by way of specific relief, we order the respondents, the Governor and the General Counsel of the Commonwealth, to provide the petitioner with data characterized by the petition as "budgetary information."
The petition, as amended, avers that the petitioner, on behalf of the minority members of the committee, issued a written request of August 14, 1981 to all cabinet secretaries of the Commonwealth for information concerning individuals employed as legal counsel in their respective departments, including, as to each: name, city of residence, date of employment, salary when appointed, current salary, salary range and terminations in such positions since October 31, 1980.
Similarly, the petition avers a like request, dated August 18, 1981, to all directors of state executive
[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 159]
agencies, authorities and boards requesting, as to employed legal counsel, like information concerning name, residence, employment date and salary, as well as name, date retained, retainer fee and fees paid to date as to each bond counsel and outside counsel.
Also averred is a letter of August 21, 1981, from the Executive Deputy General Counsel on behalf of respondent General Counsel, directing the cabinet members and executive agency directors not to release information until the General Counsel could review the request.
The petition further avers that the petitioner thereafter sent additional written requests to the Governor, as well as to the cabinet secretaries and agency heads, without receiving a reply, and then, after receiving a further letter from the Executive Deputy General Counsel indicating that such requests should be addressed to the Office of General Counsel, also sent a written request to the Office of General Counsel, without receiving any further reply.
The petition's Count One is based upon the Act of June 21, 1957, P.L. 390, as amended, § 2, 65 P.S. § 66.2, popularly known as the Right-to-Know Law. Count Two of the petition is based upon Section 620 of the Administrative code, Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 177, as amended, 71 P.S. § 240, set forth below.
Now before us for decision are the respondents' preliminary objections raising (1) as to the Right-to-Know Law, absence of original jurisdiction, failure to exhaust administrative remedies, demurrers and a claim that the information is privileged, and (2) as to the Administrative Code, claims of non-justiciable political controversy, usurpation of executive function, and a demurrer that the requested information is not the type covered by the ...