RE: FOIA Request #CFPB-2013-133-F and CFPB-2013-150-R June 13, 2013 Ms.
Lisette Garcia Judicial Watch 425 Third Street SW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20024 Dear Ms. Garcia: This letter is in final response to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) referral (2013-05-251) from the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Bureau of the Public Debt) dated June 4, 2013 (CFPB-2013-150-R) and your FOIA request to the CFPB dated April 24, 2013 (CFPB-2013133-F). Your request(s) sought records related to the purchase of data from a variety of sources as tested by Richard Cordray at the Senate Banking Committee hearing on April 23, 2013 to include: 1) All transactional documentation showing the purchase of consumer data for use by CFPB, including: a) negotiation and logistical emails, b) contracts, c) purchase orders, and d) any Standard Form 133 (SF-133) showing funds actually expended; 2) All transactional documentation showing the purchase of assistance processing consumer data (i.e., "anonymizing," sorting, storing, or analyzing) for use by CFPB, including: a) negotiation and logistical emails, b) contracts, c) purchase orders, and d) any Standard Form 133 (SF-133) showing funds actually expended; 3) All communications reflecting complaints from any source about CFPB's intention to amass consumer data; and 4) All communications respecting CFPB's plan to amass consumer data, specifically any records addressing whether and how such an action could be deemed to comport with the U.S. Constitution. A search of the Legal Division and the Offices of Procurement; the Chief Financial Officer; and Research, Markets, & Regulations for documents responsive to your request produced a total of 1,180 pages. Of those pages, I have determined that 437 pages of the records are released in full, 82 pages are released in part, and 661 pages are withheld in full pursuant to Title 5 U.S.C. § 552 (b)(4), (b)(5), and/or (b)(6). FOIA Exemption 4 protects trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged or confidential. The courts have held that this subsection protects (a) confidential commercial information, the disclosure of which is likely to cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the person who submitted the information and (b) information that was voluntarily submitted to the government if it is the kind of information that the provider would not customarily make available to the public. I reviewed the responsive documents, the submitter’s objections to release, and relevant case law, and I determined that the vendors’ commercial data is exempt from disclosure under subsection (b)(4) of the FOIA and must be withheld in order to protect the submitter’s proprietary interests.
FOIA Exemption 5 protects from disclosure those inter- or intra-agency documents that are normally privileged in the civil discovery context. The three most frequently invoked privileges are the deliberative process privilege, the attorney work-product privilege, and the attorney-client privilege. After carefully reviewing the responsive documents, I determined that portions of or the entire pages of the responsive documents qualify for protection under the Deliberative Process and/or Attorney-Client privilege(s). The Deliberative Process Privilege protects the integrity of the deliberative or decision-making processes within the agency by exempting from mandatory disclosure opinions, conclusions, and recommendations included within inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters. The release of this internal information would discourage the expression of candid opinions and inhibit the free and frank exchange of information among agency personnel. The Attorney-Client Privilege protects confidential communications between an attorney and his client relating to a legal matter for which the client has sought professional advice. It applies to facts divulged by a client to his attorney, and encompasses any opinions given by an attorney to his client based upon, and thus reflecting, those facts, as well as communications between attorneys that reflect client-supplied information. The attorney-client privilege is not limited to the context of litigation. FOIA Exemption 6 exempts from disclosure personnel or medical files and similar files the release of which would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. This requires a balancing of the public’s right to disclosure against the individual’s right to privacy. The type of information that we have withheld consists of personal information of a third party. The privacy interests of the individuals in the records you have requested outweigh any minimal public interest in disclosure of the information. Any private interest you may have in that information does not factor into the aforementioned balancing test. You may appeal any of the responses or decisions set forth above. If you choose to file an appeal, you must do so within 45 calendar days from the date of this letter. Your appeal must be in writing, signed by you or your representative, and should contain the rationale for the appeal. You may send your appeal via the mail (address below), email (FOIA@cfpb.gov) or fax (1-855FAX-FOIA (329-3642)). Your appeal should be addressed to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief FOIA Officer Freedom of Information Appeal 1700 G Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20552
For questions concerning our response, please feel free to contact CFPB’s FOIA Service Center by email at FOIA@cfpb.gov or by telephone at 1-855-444-FOIA (3642). Sincerely,
Martin Michalosky FOIA Manager Operations Division