CFPB -- O'Rourke

David Sirota filed this request with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of the United States of America.
Tracking #




From: David Sirota

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

All correspondence to or from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and United States Representative Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (otherwise known as Rep. Beto O'Rourke) of the 16th Congressional District of Texas. This includes all correspondence to or from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and A) The Office of U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke and B) U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke himself. I hereby request such correspondence from 1/1/13 to the present.

I am requesting a waiver of all fees under 5 U.S.C. Section 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). The information I seek is in the public interest because it will contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest. This request is not a commercial request -- it is being made by an award-winning media organization.

I believe I meet the criteria for a fee waiver recognized by the executive branch - and by the federal courts, See Project on Military Procurement v. Department of the Navy, 710 F. Supp. 362 363, 365 (D.C.D. 1989).

My request concerns the operations or activities of government because the records relate to the enforcement of consumer protection laws at a time when there is significant public debate about financial regulations. The records that are responsive to this request will spotlight the way the government shapes consumer financial protection regulations.

Also, the information sought has informative value, or potential for contribution to public understanding. Please note the decision in Elizabeth Eudey v. Central Intelligence Agency, 478 F. Supp. 1175 1176 (D.C.D. 1979) (even a single document has the potential for contributing to public understanding). As a reporter for Capital & Main, I plan to disseminate this information to the public at large through publication at Capital & Main ( This award-winning publication get millions of visitors per month.

In addition, the release of this information will have a significant impact on public understanding because it will illustrate how antitrust enforcement decisions are influenced and made by public officials. The policy matters this request covers millions of people in their daily lives, and these documents will show how those matters are perceived by public officials and influenced by outside interests.

In your deliberations, please take note of the following cases: Campbell v. U.S. Department of Justice, 334 U.S. App. D.C. (1998)(administrative and seemingly repetitious information is not exempt from fee-waiver consideration); Project on Military Procurement (agencies cannot reject a fee waiver based on the assumption that the information sought is covered by a FOIA exemption; and Landmark Legal Foundation v. Internal Revenue Service, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21722 (D.C.D. 1998)(the fact that the information will soon be turned over to a public body does not exempt the material from fee-waiver consideration).

If it is your position that some records are exempt from disclosure but others are not, I request that you provide the documents that are not exempt. For the exempted documents, I request that you provide an index of those exempted documents as required under Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977 (1972). As you are aware, a Vaughn index must describe each document claimed as exempt with sufficient specificity “to permit a reasoned judgment as to whether the material is actually exempt under FOIA.” Founding Church of Scientology v. Bell, 603 F.2d 945, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1979). Moreover, the Vaughn index must “describe each document or portion thereof withheld, and for each withholding it must discuss the consequences of supplying the sought-after information.” King v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 223-24 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (emphasis added). Further, “the withholding agency must supply ‘a relatively detailed justification, specifically identifying the reasons why a particular exemption is relevant and correlating those claims with the particular part of a withheld document to which they apply.’” 224 (citing Mead Data Central v. U.S. Dep’t of the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 251 (D.C. Cir. 1977)).

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.

I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


David Sirota
Investigative Reporter
Capital & Main

From: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Good Afternoon,

Attached is the Bureau's Acknowledgement of your recent FOIA request.


From: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Our records indicate that the final response was sent on June 12, 2019.

From: David Sirota

This is about FOIA Request #BCFP-2019-0164-F.

The response was never received. Can you please email the response again?

From: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

I am out of the office with limited access to email. I will be available on Tuesday, September 3. If you need immediate assistance, please contact the FOIA Service Center at 855-444-FOIA.

From: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Attached is the final response in FOIA Request 2019-0164