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FIA-12-0050 - In the Matter of Cause of Action

On October 4, 2012, The Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) granted an Appeal filed by Cause of Action (COA) under the FOIA of a final determination issued by the Loan Guarantee Program Office (LGPO).  COA’s request sought “[A]ll documents referring or relating to requests, including the requests themselves, by U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu or his representatives to the IRS for information concerning whether an applicant for a loan under any DOE program has a tax delinquent account.”  On August 6, 2012, LGPO issued a determination letter (the Determination Letter) in which it indicated that it had located documents that were responsive to COA’s request. However, LGPO withheld these documents in their entirety under Exemptions 3 and 4.  OHA reviewed these documents and concluded that while small portions of these documents were properly withheld under Exemption 3, since they contained “tax return information” most of the information contained in these documents could be segregated and released without revealing tax return information.  OHA further found that the LGPO had not adequately justified its withholdings under Exemption.  Accordingly, OHA remanded the Appeal to LGPO for further processing.  OHA Case No. FIA-12-0050