Lawyers for Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban continue to press their case that the Securities and Exchange Commission should accept thousands of dollars in private money to help expedite a public records request that the agency said it cannot begin to process until late next year.
SEC lawyers earlier this month said federal law prohibits the agency from taking any money from Cuban to pay for outside lawyers or staff overtime. That money, the agency attorneys said in court papers, would have to be deposited in the treasury.
Cuban’s request under the Freedom of Information Act is nearly two years old. The SEC attorneys said the agency processes requests in the order they are filed and that the agency will not get to Cuban’s request at least until September 2011. The attorneys said the SEC was denied additional funding for its records office.
Cuban’s lawyers last night said in response that the SEC’s position on accepting Cuban’s money is “contradicted by the facts, the law, and the SEC’s own documented process for handling payment for FOIA requests.” Click here for the response.
The SEC has already told Cuban that he will be required to pay the agency more than $23,000 for the search and review of his documents, attorneys for Cuban said in court papers filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“For the SEC to claim that it is prohibited from accepting funds from Mr. Cuban when it has already done so and has notified Mr. Cuban that it must do so again is disingenuous and another attempt to delay the processing of Mr. Cuban's FOIA requests and obstruct his access to the documents he has requested,” Cuban’s lawyers said in the court papers.
Cuban’s attorneys, who also include Dewey & LeBoeuf partner Lyle Roberts and counsel George Anhang, called the request to pay the SEC a “common-sense solution to the problems that the SEC continues to raise.” Cuban’s money would defray the costs of processing documents in the same manner as FOIA fees, the lawyers said.
The use of government contractors for the review of documents is commonplace, lawyers for Cuban said. “The mere fact that a contractor would be involved in processing documents would pose no problem for the SEC,” the attorneys said.