This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Be professional (refrain from
transmitting jokes, profanity,
disparaging remarks, “chain”
letters, or illegal activities).
2. Label your emails and attachments
(draft, deliberative, attorney/client)
to aid the FOIA Office in
recognizing the applicable
privilege or sensitivity.
3. Practice good records
management by organizing your
emails and following your office’s
(approved) disposition schedule.
4. Your conversations could be
made public! Remember that
emails are subject to FOIA and
there are limitations to what
information may be withheld from
(855) 444-FOIA (3642)
Information Act (FOIA)
What is the Freedom of Information Act
The FOIA is a law that was enacted by
Congress in 1966 (5 U.S.C. §552). FOIA
enables the public to request documents
from the Executive Branch of the Federal
Government, which includes the Bureau.
On President Obama’s first full day in office,
he prioritized the awareness of the law’s
requirement for transparency in government
by issuing a memorandum directing
government agencies to favor proactive
disclosure “in order to renew their
commitment to the principles embodied in
FOIA, and to usher in a new era of Open
When is an email a record for FOIA?
For the purpose of FOIA, an email is
considered a record that is “created or
maintained” by the Bureau at the time of a
FOIA request. Your incoming and outgoing
email messages are agency records and
are subject to FOIA. This includes the
attachments to those emails too.
Additionally, emails exchanges with
employees from another federal agency are
considered agency records in response to a
FOIA request. Email communications with
state agencies and the public are agency
While emails may be agency records and
responsive to FOIA requests, the FOIA
Office will conduct an extensive review and
determine what information may be
disclosed to the public.
What are my responsibilities and risk?
Great question! As a federal employee, you
are required to use official CFPB e-mail
accounts when conducting official business.
Employees that choose to use their
personal e-mail accounts for official
business are not in compliance with the
Bureau’s Acceptable Use Policy. Moreover,
the use of personal e-mail to conduct official
Bureau business may:
1. Make you subject to administrative
2. Compromise the Bureau’s
Information Technology systems
3. Expose the Bureau to legal liability,
financial loss, and reputational
4. Subject your personal e-mail
accounts to search and disclosure
What if I made a mistake and used my
personal e-mail for official business?
It is not too late to act! If you have used
your personal email account(s) for Bureau
business, you should immediately copy the
email messages to your official Bureau
email account. This includes both incoming
and outgoing email messages.
What do I need to do if the Bureau
receives a FOIA request for my emails?
Outstanding question. If the FOIA Office
receives a FOIA request that pertains to
you, you will likely be consulted to
determine whether you have responsive
emails. If so, the FOIA will use an
eDiscovery tool to search and collect your
emails. It is unlikely that the FOIA Office
will require you to conduct a search of your
own email account. You should not move,
reorganize, or dispose of any records
(including emails) until the FOIA request is
closed and the appeal period is over (45
days after the FOIA response is sent).
Do you need help organizing or
managing your email?
For Records Management purposes, emails
should be filed according to your office’s file
plan and include all attachments.
Additionally, emails should be maintained
and destroyed in accordance with the
NARA-approved CFPB records disposition
schedule(s) applicable to such materials.
Contact the Records Management Office at
email@example.com or visit their Wiki at
_Management_Office for more information.