Advocacy Organization Argues Need for CFPB Prepaid Rule Communications Before CRA Vote
On April 28, an advocacy organization filed a reply to the CFPB’s opposition for expedited handling of two FOIA requests issued to the Bureau on April 12. The organization filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on April 18 contending that the Bureau failed to comply with a statutory expedition processing request, and asserts that there is a “compelling need” for information that would enable the public to learn about efforts to influence the government's policymaking process before a proposed Congressional vote in mid-May to overturn the CFPB’s Prepaid Rule. The organization further argues—despite the Bureau’s assertions to the contrary—that in order to fulfill its mission it is “primarily engaged in disseminating information” with its public education efforts, and therefore, like others whose requests have been granted expedited processing, has “met the dissemination of information as a primary activity” requirement (citing Leadership Conference on Civil Rights v. Gonzales, 404 F. Supp. 2d 246, 260 (D.D.C. 2005)). Additionally, the organization claims that its FOIA requests pertain to issues for which there is an “urgency to inform the public” because of an imminent deadline under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which “permits Congress to overrule a regulation within a certain amount of time after its promulgation.” Specifically, the FOIA requests seek access to communications about the Prepaid Rule between the CFPB and 12 Senators, and between the Bureau and two prepaid companies. The organization is asking the court to order the Bureau to take whatever steps are necessary to comply with the FOIA requests prior to the CRA vote on the Prepaid Rule.