Washington Examiner Files Suit Over Withheld CFPB Documents

The Washington Examiner filed a lawsuit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this morning because the CFPB has not complied with Freedom of Information Act requests for documentation of a building it’s remodeling in DC. The renovation was supposed to cost about $55 million, but the cost has skyrocketed to almost $140 million. That’s quite a substantial increase and the taxpayers deserve to know where their money is going.

The Examiner filed a civil complaint against the CFPB under the federal Freedom of Information Act following eight months of bureau refusals to release its financial and design records of the renovation of its Washington headquarters.

The suit was filed this morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judicial Watch, the nonprofit government watchdog group, filed the complaint on behalf of the Examiner.

The lawsuit asks the court to order CFPB to demonstrate its search methods were responsive to the Examiner‘s request and compel the bureau to release by a certain date all the documents that are permitted under the FOIA law.

The suit also asks the court to instruct CFPB to compile a “Vaughn index” of all withheld documents. The index identifies specific documents that were withheld and explains how release of the records could damage a party. The bureau previously refused to release a Vaughn index.

“Documents to explain why a government bureau is spending so lavishly on renovations to its headquarters are exactly the kind of information the FOIA is meant to make available to taxpayers,” said Examiner Executive Editor Mark Tapscott. (Read More)

What are they trying to hide? We have every right to know what they’re spending our money on. I think we need to scrap the CFPB and create a Taxpayer Protection Bureau instead.

Also of note is that when the Democrats in Congress created the CFPB through Dodd-Frank they placed it under the watch of the Federal Reserve, so Congress doesn’t have oversight of its budget. Therefore, it’s up to the Federal Reserve’s inspector general to watch over the bureau’s budget. Apparently that’s not going so well.