U.S. Supreme Court to Consider when the Government Must Disclose Private Parties’ Confidential Commercial Information Mar 20, 2019 The Court will Hear Oral Arguments in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media in April ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today announced its involvement in a U.S. Supreme Court case that will clarify when the government must disclose confidential business information that private parties share with the government. FMI is a named party in the case, defending the food retail industry’s right to compete on a level playing field and its ability to serve a customer base as diverse as America’s palate, while encouraging appropriate governmental transparency. The issue before the Court in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media is whether Exemption 4 to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) protects from mandatory disclosure store-level Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) redemption data. Chief Public Policy Officer and Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs for FMI, Jennifer Hatcher said, “FMI intervened in this case on appeal to argue that store-level SNAP redemption data constitutes confidential business information and is therefore exempt from disclosure under FOIA. We support FOIA and believe it is an important law that should be interpreted as written, but FOIA was not intended to open the books to a store’s confidential business information or impede the competitive landscape.” “A substantial amount of SNAP data is already disclosed by month, state, county, and year. The opposition argues the information should be disclosed with even greater granularity, down to the store level. Doing so would compromise years of work and research to site particular stores and provide an unfair competitive advantage to competitors who do not have brick-and-mortar stores in the area,” added Hatcher. “Once confidential business information such as this is made available, it sets a dangerous precedent and has the potential to upset the free market, giving competitors unfair and unequal access to competitive business data. We look forward to the Court hearing arguments regarding this important case on April 22,” Hatcher said. For more background, arguments and access to an organized portal of amicus briefs and other relevant materials regarding the case, visit www.FMI.org/SCOTUS. An in-depth position piece by FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin can be accessed here.