We recently reported that the CFPB had issued its first Annual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Report which provided statistical information for FOIA requests the CFPB received in FY 2013. It turns out that one of those FOIA requests was made by the Washington Newspaper Publishing Co, which publishes the Washington Examiner. The company’s FOIA request sought documents concerning the renovation of the CFPB’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
The escalating cost of those renovations was the subject of questions asked of Director Cordray in his January 2014 appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. Earlier this month, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Fed and CFPB added an evaluation of the CFPB’s headquarters renovation budget to its work plan. The evaluation is being done at the request of Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, who chairs the Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
The publishing company has now filed a lawsuit against the CFPB in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that alleges the CFPB unlawfully withheld documents under FOIA. According to the complaint, the CFPB relied on FOIA exemptions to withhold 335 of the 350 documents it had located that were responsive to the publishing company’s FOIA request. The complaint alleges that its appeal to the CFPB was unsuccessful.