Earlier this week we reported that BuzzFeed reporter Mary Ann Georgantopoulos had released a copy of an April letter sent by House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to the Department of the Treasury asserting control over all correspondence between FSC and Treasury as "congressional records" and claiming their exemption from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Georgantopoulos now reports that the same letter was also sent by Hensarling to 11 executive office agencies and offices which have dealings with FSN including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

She reports that at least three of the recipients, CFPB, OCC, and NCUA, "have agreed to seemingly conceal official communications with a congressional committee from public information requests." CFPB has confirmed this decision, BuzzFeed had not obtained a response regarding the matter from the other two.

Georgantopoulos quotes a statement from House of Representatives general counsel Thomas Hungar that, "Congressional communications with executive branch agencies are exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests whenever Congress expresses the intention that such communications are to retain their status as congressional records."  His statement continues, asserting that this is a frequent request and one that federal courts have routinely and consistently enforced

The reporter however maintains that press freedom lawyers say they have never seen such a request. Adam Marshall, attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press told her, "The effort by certain people in Congress to keep agencies from telling the American people what they're doing does push the boundaries of what has been decided before.  "And given FOIA's purpose and its goal of keeping the American people informed, I would question why people in Congress are trying to push those (definition of congressional records) boundaries." he added.

HUD, Treasury, and SEC have requested delays to further evaluate the FSC request.