Requests for records.
Requests for copies of records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act shall be addressed to Chief FOIA Officer, Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20463. The request shall reasonably describe the records sought with sufficient specificity with respect to names, dates, and subject matter, to permit the records to be located. A requester will be promptly advised if the records cannot be located on the basis of the description given and that further identifying information must be provided before the request can be satisfied.
Requests for Commission records and copies thereof shall specify the preferred form or format (including electronic formats) of the response. The Commission shall accommodate requesters as to form or format if the record is readily available in that form or format. When requesters do not specify the form or format of the response, the Commission shall respond in the form or format in which the document is most accessible to the Commission.
The Commission shall determine within twenty working days after receipt of a request, or twenty working days after an appeal is granted, whether to comply with such request, unless in unusual circumstances the time is extended or subject to § 4.9(f)(3), which governs advance payments. In the event the time is extended, the requestor shall be notified of the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be made, but in no case shall the extended time exceed ten working days. An extension may be made if it is—
Necessary to locate records or transfer them from physically separate facilities; or
Necessary to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a large quantity of separate and distinct records which are the subject of a single request; or
Necessary for consultation with another agency which has a substantial interest in the determination of the request, or with two or more components of the Commission which have a substantial subject matter interest therein.
If the Commission determines that an extension of time greater than ten working days is necessary to respond to a request satisfying the “unusual circumstances” specified in paragraph (c) of this section, the Commission shall so notify the requester and give the requester an opportunity to limit the scope of the request so that it may be processed within the time limit prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section, or arrange with the Commission an alternative time frame for processing the request or a modified request.
The Commission may aggregate and process as a single request requests by the same requester, or a group of requesters acting in concert, if the Commission reasonably believes that the requests actually constitute a single request that would otherwise satisfy the unusual circumstances specified in paragraph (c) of this section, and the requests involve clearly related matters.
The Commission uses a multitrack system to process requests under the Freedom of Information Act that is based on the amount of work and/or time involved in processing requests. Requests for records are processed in the order they are received within each track. Upon receipt of a request for records, the Commission shall determine which track is appropriate for the request. The Commission may contact requesters whose requests do not appear to qualify for the fastest tracks and provide such requesters the opportunity to limit their requests so as to qualify for a faster track. Requesters who believe that their requests qualify for the fastest tracks and who wish to be notified if the Commission disagrees may so indicate in the request and, where appropriate and feasible, shall also be given an opportunity to limit their requests.
The Commission shall consider requests for the expedited processing of requests in cases where the requester demonstrates a compelling need for such processing.
The term compelling need means:
That a failure to obtain requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
With respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal government activity.
Requesters for expedited processing must include in their requests a statement setting forth the basis for the claim that a “compelling need” exists for the requested information, certified by the requester to be true and correct to the best of his or her knowledge and belief.
The Commission shall determine whether to grant a request for expedited processing and notify the requester of such determination within ten days of receipt of the request. Denials of requests for expedited processing may be appealed as set forth in § 4.8. The Commission shall expeditiously determine any such appeal. As soon as practicable, the Commission shall process the documents responsive to a request for which expedited processing is granted.
Any person denied access to records by the Commission shall be notified immediately giving reasons therefore, and notified of the right of such person to appeal such adverse determination to the Commission.
The date of receipt of a request under this part shall be the date on which the FOIA Officer actually receives the request.
[44 FR 33368, June 8, 1979, as amended at 45 FR 31292, May 13, 1980; 50 FR 50778, Dec. 12, 1985; 52 FR 39213, Oct. 21, 1987; 65 FR 9206, Feb. 24, 2000; 75 FR 31, Jan. 4, 2010]