18 CFR § 388.108 - Requests for Commission records not available through the Public Reference Room (FOIA requests).

§ 388.108 Requests for Commission records not available through the Public Reference Room (FOIA requests).

(a)

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, a person may request access to Commission records, including records maintained in electronic format, that are not available through the Public Reference Room, by using the following procedures:

(i) The request must be in writing, addressed to the Director, Office of External Affairs, and clearly marked “Freedom of Information Act Request.”

(ii) The request must include:

(A) A statement by the requester of a willingness to pay a reasonable fee or fees not to exceed a specific amount, or

(B) A request for waiver or reduction or fees.

(iii) The request must identify the fee category of the request, consistent with the provisions of § 388.109(b) (1) and (2).

(2) A request that fails to provide the identification required in paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section will not be processed until the Director, Office of External Affairs, can ascertain the requester's fee category.

(3) A request for records received by the Commission not addressed and marked as indicated in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section will be so addressed and marked by Commission personnel as soon as it is properly identified, and forwarded immediately to the Director, Office of External Affairs.

(4) Requests made pursuant to this section will be considered to be received upon actual receipt by the Director, Office of External Affairs, unless otherwise indicated in paragraph (a)(5) of this section.

(5) Except for the purpose of making a determination regarding expedited processing under paragraph (d)(3) of this section, no request will be deemed received while there is an unresolved fee waiver issue under § 388.109(b)(6), unless the requester has provided a written statement agreeing to pay some or all fees pending the outcome of the waiver question.

(b)

(1)Multitrack processing. Upon receipt of a request, the Director, Office of External Affairs, will place the request in one of three tracks for processing:

(i) Track One - records that are readily identifiable and were previously cleared for release (including those subject to multiple requests and placed in the Public Reference Room);

(ii) Track Two - records that are readily identifiable, and require limited review; and

(iii) Track Three - complex and/or voluminous records requiring a significant search and/or review.

(2) Each track specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section will be processed on a first in, first out basis, where practicable. A requester may modify a request to obtain processing on a faster track.

(c)

(1)Timing of response. Except as provided in paragraphs (c)(4) and (d)(3) of this section, within 20 working days after receipt of the request for agency records, the Director, Office of External Affairs, will comply with the request or deny the request in whole or in part, and will notify the requester of the determination, of the reasons for a decision to withhold any part of a requested document, and of the right of the requester to appeal any adverse determination in writing to the General Counsel or General Counsel's designee.

(2) The Director, Office of External Affairs, will attempt to provide records in the form or format requested, where feasible, but will not provide more than one copy of any record to a requester.

(3) Any determination by the Director, Office of External Affairs, to withhold information will, where feasible, indicate the approximate volume of information withheld, and will indicate, for partially-released materials, where redactions have been made, unless to do so would harm an interest protected by a FOIA exemption.

(4) The Director will consider whether partial disclosure of information is possible whenever it is determined that a document is exempt and will take reasonable steps to segregate and release nonexempt information.

(5) The Director will only withhold information where it is reasonably foreseeable that disclosure would harm an interest protected by an exemption or disclosure is prohibited by law or otherwise exempted from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 3.

(d)

(1)Expedited processing. A requester may seek expedited processing on the basis of a compelling need. Expedited processing will be granted if the requester demonstrates that:

(i) Failure to obtain the records on an expedited basis can reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual, or

(ii) In the case of a requester primarily engaged in the dissemination of information, there is an urgency to inform the public concerning Federal Government activity.

(2) A request for expedited processing under this section must be supported with detailed credible documentation, including a statement certified to be true and correct to the requester's best knowledge and belief.

(3) The Director, Office of External Affairs, will decide within 10 calendar days of receipt of the request whether it is eligible for expedited processing. The Director will notify the requester of the reasons for denial of expedited processing and of the right of the requester to appeal to the General Counsel or General Counsel's designee.

(e) The procedure for appeal of denial of a request for Commission records, or denial of a request for expedited processing, is set forth in § 388.110.

[Order 488, 53 FR 1473, Jan. 20, 1988, as amended by Order 562, 58 FR 62521, Nov. 29, 1993; Order 597, 63 FR 5453, Feb. 3, 1998; Order 832, 81 FR 86575, Dec. 1, 2016]