Executive compensation disclosures. Opening FAPIIS to the public. While there are good arguments for both sides about the wisdom of these new contractor transparency initiatives, it is interesting to note that they seem to conflict with recent court decisions supporting contractor efforts to limit the public availability of their data.
In Canadian Commercial Corp. v. Air Force, for example, the D.C. Circuit Court held that line-item prices for three one-year renewal options in a contract for aircraft maintenance services were exempt from public disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act. Releasing those line-item prices would have allowed competitors to make better decisions about whether to compete for work on the incumbent contract and to be more effective in persuading the government to consider unsolicited proposals.
The Third Circuit’s decision in AT&T v. Federal Communications Commission allowed AT&T to invoke the personal privacy protections in FOIA Exemption 7(C) to prevent the release of internal emails and other documents produced to the government in response to an investigation of AT&T’s performance of a government contract. Watch for the decision in this case, which was argued at the Supreme Court on January 19, 2011.