Texas Attorney General Opinion: LO97-083 Page: 2 of 2
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The Honorable Jill Cornelius - Page 2
You state that the vehicle is primarily assigned for use by the chief investigator, but other
persons in the office may also use the vehicle for official purposes. Although the vehicle is
authorized for the chief investigator's transportation for the precise distance as traveled by his wife,
you believe his wife receives a "benefit" as a passenger in the vehicle because she is not required to
expend her personal funds for transportation. You conclude, however, that the "additional cost to
the county/state resulting from the additional weight of a passenger in the vehicle is de minimus."2
The use of the vehicle by his wife as a passenger is merely incidental to its primary use by the chief
investigator. We conclude that it is not a misuse of government property when the wife of a chief
investigator for a district attorney, who is also an employee of the district attorney, commutes with
her husband to and from the office and home in an official vehicle assigned to her husband.
S U MKM A RA
The wife of the chief investigator for the District Attorney of Matagorda
County, who is also an employee of the district attorney, may ride as a
passenger commuting to and from work in an official vehicle assigned to the
chief investigator without it being considered a misuse of government
Yours very truly,
delivered or received."
1Penal Code section 39.02(d) states that "[a] discount or award given for travel, such as frequent flyer miles,
rental car or hotel discounts, or food coupons, are not things of value belonging to the government for purposes of this
section due to the administrative difficulty and cost involved in recapturing the discount or award for a governmental
entity." (Emphasis added.)
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: LO97-083, text, 1997; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth277265/m1/2/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.