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Non-profit group files FOIA action against CFPB for access to arbitration rule records

Posted in Arbitration

The Cause of Action Institute has filed an action against the CFPB under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking information related to the CFPB’s proposed arbitration rule.  In its complaint filed in D.C. federal district court, the Institute described itself as “a non-profit strategic oversight group committed to ensuring that government decision-making is open, honest, and fair.”

In April 2016, the Institute sent a FOIA request to the CFPB that included a request for “All records by or between CFPB employees regarding the Arbitration Study and/or the Proposed Ban.”  After consultation with the CFPB, the Institute filed a new FOIA request in June 2016 that included the same request but limited the request to records that contained certain search terms.

The CFPB thereafter issued a final determination indicating that it was producing certain pages of the responsive records in full or in part and was withholding the remaining pages in full.  In its determination, the CFPB specified the FOIA exemptions on which it was relying to withhold responsive records.  The CFPB denied the Institute’s appeal in full.

In the complaint, the Institute alleges that the CFPB violated FOIA by improperly applying the various FOIA exemptions on which it relied.

The comment period on the CFPB’s proposed arbitration rule closed on August 22, 2016 and we have heard rumors that the CFPB is pushing to issue a final rule before January 20.