Nine Days of FOIA Exemptions: b(8)

Nine Days of FOIA Exemptions: b(8)

The financial institution exemption is as boring and depressing as you’d think it is

Written by
Edited by Beryl Lipton

With Sunshine Week just around the corner, we wanted to count down the days to our favorite time of year with a closer look at what’s going on behind the black bars: the nine federal FOIA exemptions. In the home stretch, we tackle b(8) - the financial institution exemption that is as depressing as the robot that shares its name is adorable.

Exemption Name: b(8)

AKA : “The Business of America is Still Business.” “Also, Why Are You Asking So Many Questions?”

Common Reactions: “The inevitability of the coming financial collapse fills me with unfathomable terror.”

What it says: Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.

What that means: You don’t get to know how financial institutions are regulated, likely because such knowledge inflicts 1d8 sanity damage with no chance of saving throw.

Who uses it? The Securities and Exchange Commission has one of its few confirmed uses, but other finance-related agencies are likely to wheel it out.

Silliest example of its use: As we said above, the only use of b(8) we could find was in the SEC’s collected FOIA appeals released through last year’s March Madness. So not really silly, but it’ll have to do.

What you can do about it: Don’t think too hard about the inevitability of the coming financial collapse.

Any other resources? All kidding aside, those appeals are a great resource, and FOIA Wiki points out you might have an in when it comes to “purely factual material,” but even that’s been rejected by some courts. Whee.

Happy appeals! Any other b(8) tips we left out? Let us know via email, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Image via Obama White House Archives