Tuesday, January 29, 2013

FOIA Appeal Denied

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal for all communications (for example, letters, e-mails, faxes, telephone logs) associated with the following individuals -- Carlos Rodriguez, Robert (Bob) Marinace, Paul Davis, and Paul Popescu -- regarding Technology Credit Union’s conversion to a mutual savings bank charter. These individuals were actively opposed to Technology's conversion.

However, NCUA cited exemptions 5, 7(C), and 8 of the FOIA to support its withholding this information. The agency does not confirm or deny the existence of this material.

In denying the FOIA Appeal, NCUA, for example, stated that there is "no public interest in the release of the requested material." NCUA wrote that there was no allegation of wrongdoing with regard to any official actions taken by the agency.

Furthermore, the agency stated that given the narrow scope of the FOIA, a partial redaction would not protect the personal privacy interests of these individuals.

In addition, the agency stated that Exemption 8 allows it to withhold information "contained in or related to examinations, 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." The agency notes that the "receipt and disposition of communications ... falls within the scope of exemption 8."

It seems to me that the agency has taken an overly broad interpretation of the FOIA exemptions to suppress the disclosure of information that might be embarrassing to the agency, if made public.

This failure to disclose its communications with these individuals who actively opposed Technology's conversion adds further credibility to suspicions that this agency is inherently biased against credit unions exercising their rights to charter choice.

Read the January 15, 2013 denial letter (click on images to enlarge).


  1. Makes me think of several things. First, that they are protecting another party that you didn't identify in your request, but that would be obvious in their response, even with redactions. Who could that be? Second, the response is really long, but overall is a weak argument under all of the exemptions they list. Third, when McKenna refers to privileges available to a governmental agency -- are we talking about the same "independent agency" that seems to get to choose its rules based on the situation at hand?

  2. NCUA to Issa- drop dead. (explain justification of contingency lawsuits)
    NCUA to congress- drop dead (low income designation, conversion rules).
    NCUA to white house- drop dead (executive order against contingency law suits).
    NCUA to ABA - drop dead. We don't have to explain anything an we decide what is a public interest.

    CUs to Issa - keep digging.



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