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.
(b) Multitrack processing.
(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:
(i) 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
(ii) The requester is a representative of the news media, as defined in § 261.2, and there is urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Board activity.
(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);
(3) In unusual circumstances, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B). In such circumstances, the time limit may be extended for a period of time not to exceed:
(i) 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
(ii) Such alternative time period as mutually agreed to by the Freedom of Information Office and the requester when the Freedom of Information Office notifies the requester that the request cannot be processed in the specified time limit.
(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;
(4) The right of the requester to appeal to the Board any denial or partial denial, as specified in paragraph (i) of this section; and
(5) In the case of a denial of a request, the name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial.
(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.
(i) Appeal of denial of request. Any person denied access to Board records requested under § 261.12 may file a written appeal with the Board, as follows:
(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 Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20551; or sent by facsimile to the Freedom of Information Office, (202) 872-7562 or 7565.
(2) An initial request for records may not be combined in the same letter with an appeal.
(3) The appeal shall be filed within 10 working days of the date on which the denial 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:
(i) It is accompanied by a written request for leave to file an untimely appeal; and
(ii) The Board determines, in its discretion and for good and substantial cause shown, that the appeal should be considered.
(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.