Mokhiber v. Department of the Treasury

Government Transparency - FOIA
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Case Description: 

The Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") within the Department of the Treasury is responsible for enforcing laws that impose economic and trade sanctions, freeze assets, and prevent money laundering. The laws enforced by OFAC include regulations intended to prevent transfer of assets to terrorist organizations and restrict transactions with foreign nations such as Iraq, North Korea and Cuba.

OFAC agrees to settlements with many of the entities identified as violators of these laws, but it rarely discloses the settlement, the identity of the settling party, or the amount of the settlement.

In this FOIA action, PCLG represented the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter, who requested disclosure of the names of corporations that settled with OFAC to avoid civil enforcement actions under the laws enforced by OFAC. In response to this suit, the Department of the Treasury adopted regulations in February 2003 that provide for periodic disclosure of the identity of corporations that agree to settlements or are cited for civil penalties. However, the Department is still withholding most of the information in records concerning these settlements, including government's reasons for accepting settlements.