12 CFR 1102.306 - Procedures for requesting records.
(a) Making a request for records.
(1) The request shall be submitted in writing to the Executive Director:
(i) By facsimile clearly marked “Freedom of Information Act Request” to (202) 293-6251;
(ii) By letter to the Executive Director marked “Freedom of Information Act Request”; 2000 K Street, NW., Suite 301; Washington, DC 20006; or
(iii) By sending Internet e-mail to the Executive Director marked “Freedom of Information Act Request” at his or her e-mail address listed on the ASC's World Wide Web site.
(2) The request shall contain the following information:
(i) The name and address of the requester, an electronic mail address, if available, and the telephone number at which the requester may be reached during normal business hours;
(ii) Whether the requester is an educational institution, non-commercial scientific institution, or news media representative;
(iii) A statement agreeing to pay the applicable fees, or a statement identifying a maximum fee that is acceptable to the requester, or a request for a waiver or reduction of fees that satisfies paragraph (e)(1)(x) of this section; and
(iv) The preferred form and format of any responsive information requested, if other than paper copies.
(3) A request for identifiable records shall reasonably describe the records in a way that enables the ASC's staff to identify and produce the records with reasonable effort and without unduly burdening or significantly interfering with any ASC operations.
(b) Defective requests. The ASC need not accept or process a request that does not reasonably describe the records requested or that does not otherwise comply with the requirements of this subpart. The ASC may return a defective request, specifying the deficiency. The requester may submit a corrected request, which will be treated as a new request.
(c) Processing requests -
(1) Receipt of requests. Upon receipt of any request that satisfies paragraph (a) of this section, the Executive Director shall assign the request to the appropriate processing track pursuant to this section. The date of receipt for any request, including one that is addressed incorrectly or that is referred by another agency, is the date the Executive Director actually receives the request.
(2) Expedited processing.
(i) Where a person requesting expedited access to records has demonstrated a compelling need for the records, or where the ASC has determined to expedite the response, the ASC shall process the request as soon as practicable. To show a compelling need for expedited processing, the requester shall provide a statement demonstrating that:
(A) The failure to obtain the records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
(B) The requester can establish that it is primarily engaged in information dissemination as its main professional occupation or activity, and there is urgency to inform the public of the government activity involved in the re request; and
(C) The requester's statement must be certified to be true and correct to the best of the person's knowledge and belief and explain in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing.
(ii) The formality of the certification required to obtain expedited treatment may be waived by the Executive Director as a matter of administrative discretion.
(3) A requester seeking expedited processing will be notified whether expedited processing has been granted within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the request. If the request for expedited processing is denied, the requester may file an appeal pursuant to the procedures set forth in paragraph (g) of this section, and the ASC shall respond to the appeal within ten (10) working days after receipt of the appeal.
(4) Priority of responses. Consistent with sound administrative process, the ASC processes requests in the order they are received. However, in the ASC's discretion, or upon a court order in a matter to which the ASC is a party, a particular request may be processed out of turn.
(i) The time for response to requests will be twenty (20) working days except:
(A) In the case of expedited treatment under paragraph (c)(2) of this section;
(B) Where the running of such time is suspended for the calculation of a cost estimate for the requester if the ASC determines that the processing of the request may exceed the requester's maximum fee provision or if the charges are likely to exceed $250 as provided for in paragraph (e)(1)(iv) of this section;
(C) Where the running of such time is suspended for the payment of fees pursuant to the paragraph (c)(5)(i)(B) and (e)(1) of this section; or
(ii) In unusual circumstances as referred to in paragraph (c)(5)(i)(D) of this section, the time limit may be extended for a period of:
(A) Ten (10) working days as provided by written notice to the requester, setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched; or
(B) Such alternative time period as agreed to by the requester or as reasonably determined by the ASC when the ASC notifies the requester that the request cannot be processed in the specified time limit.
(iii) Unusual circumstances may arise when:
(A) The records are in facilities that are not located at the ASC's Washington office;
(B) The records requested are voluminous or are not in close proximity to one another; or
(C) There is a need to consult with another agency or among two or more components of the ASC having a substantial interest in the determination.
(6) Response to request. In response to a request that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, a search shall be conducted of records maintained by the ASC in existence on the date of receipt of the request, and a review made of any responsive information located. To the extent permitted by law, the ASC may redact identifying details when it makes available or publishes any records. If redaction is appropriate, the ASC will, to the extent technically feasible, indicate the amount of material deleted at the place in the record where such deletion is made unless that indication in and of itself will jeopardize the purpose for the redaction. The ASC shall notify the requester of:
(i) The ASC's determination of the request;
(ii) The reasons for the determination;
(iii) If the response is a denial of an initial request or if any information is withheld, the ASC will advise the requester in writing:
(A) If the denial is in part or in whole;
(B) The name and title of each person responsible for the denial (when other than the person signing the notification);
(C) The exemptions relied on for the denial; and
(D) The right of the requester to appeal the denial to the Chairman of the ASC within 30 business days following receipt of the notification, as specified in paragraph (h) of this section.
(d) Providing responsive records.
(1) Copies of requested records shall be sent to the requester by regular U.S. mail to the address indicated in the request, unless the requester elects to take delivery of the documents at the ASC or makes other acceptable arrangements, or the ASC deems it appropriate to send the documents by another means.
(2) The ASC shall provide a copy of the record in any form or format requested if the record is readily reproducible by the ASC in that form or format, but the ASC need not provide more than one copy of any record to a requester.
(3) By arrangement with the requester, the ASC may elect to send the responsive records electronically if a substantial portion of the request is in electronic format. If the information requested is made pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, it will not be sent by electronic means unless reasonable security measures can be provided.
(e) Fees -
(1) General rules.
(i) Persons requesting records of the ASC shall be charged for the direct costs of search, duplication, and review as set forth in paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3) of this section, unless such costs are less than the ASC's cost of processing the requester's remittance.
(ii) Requesters will be charged for search and review costs even if responsive records are not located or, if located, are determined to be exempt from disclosure.
(iii) Multiple requests seeking similar or related records from the same requester or group of requesters will be aggregated for the purposes of this section.
(iv) If the ASC determines that the estimated costs of search, duplication, or review of requested records will exceed the dollar amount specified in the request, or if no dollar amount is specified, the ASC will advise the requester of the estimated costs. The requester must agree in writing to pay the costs of search, duplication, and review prior to the ASC initiating any records search.
(v) If the ASC estimates that its search, duplication, and review costs will exceed $250, the requester must pay an amount equal to 20 percent of the estimated costs prior to the ASC initiating any records search.
(vi) The ASC ordinarily will collect all applicable fees under the final invoice before releasing copies of requested records to the requester.
(vii) The ASC may require any requester who has previously failed to pay charges under this section within 30 calendar days of mailing of the invoice to pay in advance the total estimated costs of search, duplication, and review. The ASC also may require a requester who has any charges outstanding in excess of 30 calendar days following mailing of the invoice to pay the full amount due, or demonstrate that the fee has been paid in full, prior to the ASC initiating any additional records search.
(viii) The ASC may begin assessing interest charges on unpaid bills on the 31st day following the day on which the invoice was sent. Interest will be at the rate prescribed in § 3717 of title 31 of the United States Code and will accrue from the date of the invoice.
(ix) The time limit for the ASC to respond to a request will not begin to run until the ASC has received the requester's written agreement under paragraph (e)(1)(iv) of this section, and advance payment under paragraph (e)(1)(v) or (vii) of this section, or payment of outstanding charges under paragraph (e)(1)(vii) or (viii) of this section.
(x) As part of the initial request, a requester may ask that the ASC waive or reduce fees if disclosure of the records is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Determinations as to a waiver or reduction of fees will be made by the Executive Director (or designee), and the requester will be notified in writing of his or her determination. A determination not to grant a request for a waiver or reduction of fees under this paragraph may be appealed to the ASC's Chairman pursuant to the procedure set forth in paragraph (g) of this section.
(2) Chargeable fees by category of requester.
(i) Commercial use requesters shall be charged search, duplication, and review costs.
(ii) Educational institutions, noncommercial scientific institutions, and news media representatives shall be charged duplication costs, except for the first 100 pages.
(iii) Requesters not described in paragraph (e)(2)(i) or (ii) of this section shall be charged the full reasonable direct cost of search and duplication, except for the first two hours of search time and first 100 pages of duplication.
(3) Fee schedule. The dollar amount of fees which the ASC may charge to records requesters will be established by the Executive Director. The ASC may charge fees that recoup the full allowable direct costs it incurs. Fees are subject to change as costs change. The fee schedule will be published periodically on the ASC's Internet World Wide Web site (http://www.asc.gov) and will be effective on the date of publication. Copies of the fee schedule may be obtained by request at no charge by contacting the Executive Director by letter, Internet email or facsimile.
(i) Manual searches for records. The ASC will charge for manual searches for records at the basic rate of pay of the employee making the search plus 16 percent to cover employee benefit costs.
(ii) Computer searches for records. The fee for searches of computerized records is the actual direct cost of the search, including computer time, computer runs, and the operator's time apportioned to the search multiplied by the operator's basic rate of pay plus 16 percent to cover employee benefit costs.
(iii) Duplication of records.
(A) The per-page fee for paper copy reproduction of documents is $.25.
(B) For other methods of reproduction or duplication, the ASC will charge the actual direct costs of reproducing or duplicating the documents, including each involved employee's basic rate of pay plus 16 percent to cover employee benefit costs.
(iv) Review of records. The ASC will charge commercial use requesters for the review of records at the time of processing the initial request to determine whether they are exempt from mandatory disclosure at the basic rate of pay of the employee making the search plus 16 percent to cover employee benefit costs. The ASC will not charge at the administrative appeal level for review of an exemption already applied. When records or portions of records are withheld in full under an exemption which is subsequently determined not to apply, the ASC may charge for a subsequent review to determine the applicability of other exemptions not previously considered.
(v) Other services. Complying with requests for special services, other than a readily produced electronic form or format, is at the ASC's discretion. The ASC may recover the full costs of providing such services to the requester.
(4) Use of contractors. The ASC may contact with independent contractors to locate, reproduce, and/or disseminate records; provided, however, that the ASC has determined that the ultimate cost to the requester will be no greater than it would be if the ASC performed these tasks itself. In no case will the ASC contract our responsibilities which FOIA provides that the ASC alone may discharge, such as determining the applicability of an exemption or whether to waive or reduce fees.
(f) Exempt information. A request for records may be denied if the requested record contains information that falls into one or more of the following categories. 1 If the requested record contains both exempt and nonexempt information, the nonexempt portions, which may reasonable be segregated from the exempt portions, will be released to the requester. If redaction is necessary, the ASC will, to the extent technically feasible, indicate the amount of material deleted at the place in the record where such deletion is made unless that indication in and of itself will jeopardize the purpose for the redaction. The categories of exempt records are as follows:
1 Classification of a record as exempt from disclosure under the provisions of this paragraph (f) shall not be construed as authority to withhold the record if it is otherwise subject to disclosure under the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) or other Federal statute, any applicable regulation of ASC or any other Federal agency having jurisdiction thereof, or any directive or order of any court of competent jurisdiction.
(1) Records that are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order;
(2) Records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the ASC;
(3) Records specifically exempted from disclosure by statute, provided that such statute:
(i) Requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue; or
(ii) Establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld;
(4) Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged or confidential;
(5) Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters that would not be available by law to a private party in litigation with the ASC;
(6) Personnel, medical, and similar files (including financial files) the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
(7) Records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records:
(i) Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings;
(ii) Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trail or an impartial adjudication;
(ii) Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
(iv) Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished records on a confidential basis;
(v) Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or
(vi) Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual;
(8) Records that are contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of the ASC or any agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; or
(9) Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.
(1) Appeals should be addressed to the Executive Director; ASC; 2000 K Street, NW., Suite 310; Washington, DC 20006.
(2) A person whose initial request for records under this section, or whose request for a waiver of fees under paragraph (e)(1)(x) of this section, has been denied, either in part or in whole, has the right to appeal the denial to the ASC's Chairman (or designee) within 30 business days after receipt of notification of the denial. Appeals of denials of initial requests or for a waiver of fees must be in writing and include any additional information relevant to consideration of the appeal.
(3) Except in the case of an appeal for expedited treatment under paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the ASC will notify the appellant in writing within 20 business days after receipt of the appeal and will state:
(i) Whether it is granted or denied in whole or in part;
(ii) The name and title of each person responsible for the denial (if other than the person signing the notification);
(iii) The exemptions relied upon for the denial in the case of initial requests for records; and
(iv) The right to judicial review of the denial under the FOIA.
(4) If a requester is appealing for denial of expedited treatment, the ASC will notify the appellant within ten business days after receipt of the appeal of the ASC's disposition.
(5) Complete payment of any outstanding fee invoice will be required before an appeal is processed.
(h) Records of another agency. If a requested record is the property of another Federal agency or department, and that agency or department, either in writing or by regulation, expressly retains ownership of such record, upon receipt of a request for the record the ASC will promptly inform the requester of this ownership and immediately shall forward the request to the proprietary agency or department either for processing in accordance with the latter's regulations or for guidance with respect to disposition.