CAUSE OF ACTION SUES FOR PUBLIC RELEASE OF RECORDS REVEALING THE CAUSE OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
National Archives Refuses to Grant Records Concerning Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Claims Records Are Not Subject to FOIA
WASHINGTON – Government accountability group Cause of Action (CoA) filed a lawsuit on August 14 against the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for wrongfully withholding records pertaining to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) and claiming that these records are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
“The FCIC was created to examine the causes of the financial and economic crisis in the United States, an issue that impacted all Americans,” said Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action. “At a time when the American public is still wondering what or who caused the financial crisis, the National Archives’ refusal to release these records keeps the American public in the dark.”
On October 3, 2011, CoA submitted a FOIA request to NARA for:
“[A]ll documents, including e-mail communications, memoranda, draft reports, and other relevant information and/or data contained in the records transfer of Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission documents stored at NARA to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at the U.S. House of Representatives.”
On December 1, 2011, NARA denied CoA’s FOIA request on the grounds that FCIC records are not “agency records” that must be disclosed pursuant to FOIA’s disclosure provisions and that the FCIC established a five-year restriction on public access to FCIC records.
CoA has appealed this FOIA denial, only to be shut out once again by NARA.
“NARA has been in possession of these documents since February of 2011, so to claim that these records are not Agency documents is an obfuscation of the truth,” stated Karen Olea, senior counsel at Cause of Action. “Cause of Action is committed to pursuing these documents so that the American public can know what went into the report that helped shaped the national discussion about the financial crisis.”