12 CFR 261.13 - Processing requests.
(a)Receipt of requests. Upon receipt of any request that satisfies § 261.12(b), the Freedom of Information Office shall assign the request to the appropriate processing schedule, pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section. The date of receipt for any request, including one that is addressed incorrectly or that is referred to the Board by another agency or by a Federal Reserve Bank, is the date the Freedom of Information Office actually receives the request.
(1) The Board provides different levels of processing for categories of requests under this section. Requests for records that are readily identifiable by the Freedom of Information Office and that have already been cleared for public release may qualify for fast-track processing. All other requests shall be handled under normal processing procedures, unless expedited processing has been granted pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section.
(2) The Freedom of Information Office will make the determination whether a request qualifies for fast-track processing. A requester may contact the Freedom of Information Office to learn whether a particular request has been assigned to fast-track processing. If the request has not qualified for fast-track processing, the requester will be given an opportunity to limit the request in order to qualify for fast-track processing. Limitations of requests must be in writing.
(c)Expedited processing. When a person requesting expedited access to records has demonstrated a compelling need for the records, or when the Board has determined to expedite the response, the Board shall process the request as soon as practicable.
(1) To demonstrate a compelling need for expedited processing, the requester shall provide a certified statement, a sample of which may be obtained from the Freedom of Information Office. The statement, which must be certified to be true and correct to the best of the requester's knowledge and belief, shall demonstrate that:
(2) In response to a request for expedited processing, the Secretary shall notify a requester of the determination within ten calendar days of receipt of the request. If the Secretary denies a request for expedited processing, the requester may file an appeal pursuant to the procedures set forth in paragraph (i) of this section, and the Board shall respond to the appeal within ten working days after the appeal was received by the Board.
(d)Priority of responses. The Secretary will assign responsible staff to process particular requests. The Freedom of Information Office will normally process requests in the order they are received in the separate processing tracks, except when expedited processing is granted. However, in the Secretary's discretion, or upon a court order in a matter to which the Board is a party, a particular request may be processed out of turn.
(e)Time limits. The time for response to requests shall be 20 working days, except:
(1) In the case of expedited treatment under paragraph (c) of this section;
(2) Where the running of such time is suspended for payment of fees pursuant to § 261.17(b)(2);
(i) Extend the 20-day time limit for a period of time not to exceed 10 working days, where the Board has provided written notice to the requester setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched; and
(ii) Extend the 20-day time limit for a period of more than 10 working days where the Board has provided the requester with an opportunity to modify the scope of the FOIA request so that it can be processed within that time frame or with an opportunity to arrange an alternative time frame for processing the original request or a modified request, and has notified the requester that the Board's FOIA Public Liaison is available to assist the requester for this purpose and in the resolution of any disputes between the requester and the Board and of the requester's right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.
(f)Response to request. In response to a request that satisfies § 261.12(b), an appropriate search shall be conducted of records of the Board in existence on the date of receipt of the request, and a review made of any responsive information located. The Secretary shall notify the requester of:
(1) The Board's determination of the request;
(2) The reasons for the determination;
(3) The amount of information withheld;
(5) When an adverse determination is made (including determinations that the requested record is exempt, in whole or in part; the request does not reasonably describe the records sought; the information requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; the requested record does not exist, cannot be located, or has been destroyed; the requested record is not readily reproducible in the form or format sought by the requester; deny fee waiver requests or other fee categorization matters; and deny requests for expedited processing), the Secretary will advise the requester in writing of that determination and will further advise the requester of:
(iii) The name and title or position of the person responsible for the adverse determination.
(g)Referral to another agency. To the extent a request covers documents that were created by, obtained from, or classified by another agency, the Board may refer the request to that agency for a response and inform the requester promptly of the referral.
(h)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 Freedom of Information Office or makes other acceptable arrangements, or the Board deems it appropriate to send the documents by another means.
(2) The Board shall provide a copy of the record in any form or format requested if the record is readily reproducible by the Board in that form or format, but the Board need not provide more than one copy of any record to a requester.
(1) The appeal shall prominently display the phrase FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT APPEAL on the first page, and shall be addressed to the Freedom of Information Office, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th & C Streets NW., Washington, DC 20551; or sent by facsimile to the Freedom of Information Office, (202) 872-7562 or 7565; or sent by email to FOIA-Appeals@frb.gov.
(3) The appeal shall be filed within 90 days of the date on which the adverse determination was issued, or the date on which documents in partial response to the request were transmitted to the requester, whichever is later. The Board may consider an untimely appeal if:
(4) The Board shall make a determination regarding any appeal within 20 working days of actual receipt of the appeal by the Freedom of Information Office, and the determination letter shall notify the appealing party of the right to seek judicial review.
(5) The Secretary may reconsider a denial being appealed if intervening circumstances or additional facts not known at the time of the denial come to the attention of the Secretary while an appeal is pending.