No. The Texas Public Information Act does not allow government officials to ask why you want the information.
I generally find that a very polite response – with an emphasis on polite – noting that the law doesn’t allow them to ask will generally put an end to that line of questioning.
According to the Texas Attorney General’s office, a government agency is allowed to ask for proper identification of the requestor and for clarification, if necessary, on the information requested.
“Often, an initial open records request may involve the production of more documents than the requestor intended,” according to the attorney general’s Web site. “Similarly, many open records requests ask for information that is not kept by the governmental body in the requested format. In either case, the governmental body can ask the requestor whether a potential narrowing or variation of the request would meet the requestor’s needs.”
For more information about this issue or the Texas Public Information Act, visit the attorney general’s web site at www.oag.state.tx.us, and then click on the “open government” tab. Down the right side of the screen you will see a prompt for “public information act made easy.” This is a great resource for explaining the law and how it has been interpreted over the years.