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Judge Will Not Dismiss Bert Lance’s Suit Against The Government

December 23, 1985

ROME, Ga. (AP) _ A judge has denied the government’s request to dismiss a lawsuit by former federal budget director Bert Lance accusing bank regulators of violating his right to privacy by allegedly leaking a report on the bank he heads.

In a ruling disclosed today, U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy said the government’s motion to dismiss the case was invalid.

He also ruled that Calhoun First National Bank does not qualify for protection under the federal Privacy Act on which the bank and Lance based their complaint against the government. And he dismissed the bank’s complaint.

But he said Lance, chairman and majority shareholder of Calhoun First, does qualify for such protection and ″as an individual, has the right to make such a claim, and this court has the statutory grant of jurisdiction to hear it.″

Lance and Calhoun First sued the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Aug. 19, accusing the agency of illegally leaking to a newspaper its report on an examination of Calhoun First.

The report, highly critical of Lance and the bank’s directors, was published by The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution in late June. The confidential report was mailed anonymously to the newspaper.

Murphy denied Lance’s request that the leaked report, now under seal in the court, be unsealed.

After details of the report were published, Lance stepped down as chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party.

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