18 CFR § 388.110 - Procedure for appeal of denial of requests for Commission records not publicly available or not available through the Public Reference Room, denial of requests for fee waiver or reduction, and denial of requests for expedited processing.

§ 388.110 Procedure for appeal of denial of requests for Commission records not publicly available or not available through the Public Reference Room, denial of requests for fee waiver or reduction, and denial of requests for expedited processing.

(a)

(1) Determination letters shall indicate that a requester may seek assistance from the FOIA Public Liaison. A person whose request for records, request for fee waiver, or request for expedited processing is denied in whole or in part may seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services, or may appeal the determination to the General Counsel or General Counsel's designee within 90 days of the determination.

(2) Appeals filed pursuant to this section must be in writing, addressed to the General Counsel of the Commission, and clearly marked “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.” Such an appeal received by the Commission not addressed and marked as indicated in this paragraph will be so addressed and marked by Commission personnel as soon as it is properly identified and then will be forwarded to the General Counsel. Appeals taken pursuant to this paragraph will be considered to be received upon actual receipt by the General Counsel.

(3) The General Counsel or the General Counsel's designee will make a determination with respect to any appeal within 20 working days after the receipt of such appeal. An appeal of the denial of expedited processing will be considered as expeditiously as possible within the 20 working day period. If, on appeal, the denial of the request for records, fee reduction, or expedited processing is upheld in whole or in part, the General Counsel or the General Counsel's designee will notify the person making the appeal of the provisions for judicial review of that determination.

(b)

(1)Extension of time. In unusual circumstances, the time limits prescribed for making the initial determination pursuant to § 388.108 and for deciding an appeal pursuant to this section may be extended by up to 10 working days, by the Secretary, who will send written notice to the requester setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date on which a determination or appeal is expected to be dispatched.

(2) The extension permitted by paragraph (b)(1) of this section may be made longer than 10 working days when the Commission notifies the requester within the initial response time that the request cannot be processed in the specified time, and the requester is provided an opportunity to limit the scope of the request to allow processing within 20 working days; or to arrange with the Commission an alternative time frame.

(3) Two or more requests aggregated into a single request under § 388.109(b)(2)(vii) may qualify for an extension of time if the requests, as aggregated, otherwise satisfy the unusual circumstances specified in this section.

(4)Unusual circumstances means:

(i) The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the requests;

(ii) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or

(iii) The need for consultation, which will be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.

(5) Whenever the Commission extends the time limit, pursuant to paragraph (b)(1) of this section, by more than ten additional working days, the written notice will notify the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.

[Order 488, 53 FR 1473, Jan. 20, 1988, as amended by Order 597, 63 FR 5455, Feb. 3, 1998; Order 832, 81 FR 86575, Dec. 1, 2016]