15 CFR 2004.6 - When will we respond to your FOIA request?

§ 2004.6 When will we respond to your FOIA request?

(a)In general. We ordinarily will respond to a request within twenty working days based on the order in which we receive the request. We may toll the twenty-day period if we need additional information from you in order to process the request or need to clarify fee assessment issues.

(b)Multitrack processing. We use a multitrack processing system that distinguishes between simple and more complex requests based on the estimated amount of work or time we need to process the request. Among the factors we consider are the number of records requested, the number of pages involved in processing the request, and the need for consultations or referrals. We will tell you if we place your request into other than the simple track, and if appropriate, we will offer you an opportunity to narrow or modify your request so that it can be placed in a different processing track.

(c)Unusual circumstances -

(1)What is an unusual circumstance? We will notify you if we extend the twenty-day period for processing your request. The notice will include the unusual circumstances - the need to search for and collect the requested records from separate offices or facilities, a request that involves a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records, or the need for consultation, and the date by which we estimate we will complete processing your request. If the extension exceeds ten days, we will give you the opportunity to modify your request or arrange an alternative time period for processing the original or modified request. If you need assistance, you can contact our FOIA Public Liaison at FOIA@ustr.eop.gov, or OGIS at OGIS@nara.gov.

(2)Aggregating requests. We may aggregate requests if it reasonably appears that multiple requests submitted either by a single requester or by a group of requesters acting in concert, involve related matters and constitute a single request that otherwise would involve unusual circumstances. For example, we may aggregate multiple requests for similar information filed within a short period of time.

(d)Expedited processing -

(1)How do I request expedited processing? When you submit your request or appeal, you can ask us to expedite processing. If you seek expedited processing, you must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct, explaining in detail the basis for your expedited processing request.

(2)When will we grant expedited processing? We will process requests and appeals on an expedited basis if we determine that:

(i) 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;

(ii) With respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, there is an urgency to inform the public about the specific government activity that is the subject of the request or appeal that extends beyond the public's right to know about government activity generally;

(iii) An individual will suffer the loss of substantial due process rights; or

(iv) the subject is of widespread and exceptional media interest and the information sought involves possible questions about the government's integrity that affect public confidence.

(3)When will we respond to your request for expedited processing? We will notify you within ten calendar days of the receipt of a request for expedited processing of our decision whether to grant or deny expedited processing. If we grant your request, we will give your request or appeal priority, place it in the processing track for expedited requests, and process it as soon as practicable. If we deny your request, we will process any appeal of that decision expeditiously.

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