19 CFR 201.21 - Availability of specific records.

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§ 201.21 Availability of specific records.

(a)Records available. The following information, on request to the Secretary of the Commission, is available for public inspection and copying: (1) final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the adjudication of cases; (2) those statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted by the agency; and (3) administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public. Available information includes, but is not limited to: (i) Applications, petitions, and other formal documents filed with the Commission, (ii) notices to the public concerning Commission matters, (iii) transcripts of testimony taken and exhibits submitted at hearings, (iv) reports to the President, to either or both Houses of Congress, or to Committees of Congress, release of which has been authorized by the President or the legislative body concerned, (v) reports and other documents issued for general distribution. Much of the information described above also is available on the Commission's World Wide Web site. The Commission's home page is at http://www.usitc.gov. The Web site also includes information subject to repeated Freedom of Information Act requests. Persons accessing the Web site can find instructions on how to locate Commission information by following the “Freedom of Information Act” link on the home page.

(b)Records not available. Information specifically exempted from disclosure by 5 U.S.C. 552(b), including reports to the President, to either or both Houses of Congress, or to Committees of Congress, the release of which has not been authorized by the President or the legislative body concerned, and confidential business data as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1905 and 19 19 CFR 201.06 are not available to the public.

(c)Information requested in cases or matters to which the Commission is not a party.

(1) The procedure specified in this section will apply to all demands directed to Commission employees for the production of documents or for testimony that relates in any way to the employees' official duties. These procedures will also apply to demands directed to former employees if the demands seek nonpublic materials or information acquired during Commission employment. The provisions of paragraph (c)(2) of this section will also apply to demands directed to the agency. For purposes of this section, the term demand means any request, order or subpoena for testimony or production of documents; the term subpoena means any compulsory process in a case or matter to which the Commission is not a party; the term nonpublic includes any material or information which, under § 201.21(b), is exempt from availability for public inspection and copying; the term employee means any current or former officer or employee of the Commission; the term documents means all records, papers or official files, including without limitation, official letters, telegrams, memoranda, reports, studies, calendar and diary entries, graphs, notes, charts, tabulations, data analysis, statistical or information accumulations, records of meetings and conversations, film impressions, magnetic tapes, and sound or mechanical reproductions; the term case or matter means any civil proceeding before a court of law, administrative board, hearing officer, or other body conducting a legal or administrative proceeding in which the Commission is not a named party.

(2) Prior to or simultaneously with a demand to a Commission employee for the production of documents or for testimony concerning matters relating to official duties, the party seeking such production or testimony must serve upon the General Counsel of the Commission an affidavit, or if that is not feasible, then a statement which sets forth the title of the case, the forum, the party's interest in the case, the reasons for the request, and a showing that the desired testimony or documents are not reasonably available from any other source. Where testimony is sought, the party must also provide a summary of the testimony desired, the intended use of the testimony, and show that Commission records could not be provided and used instead of the requested testimony. A subpoena for testimony from a Commission employee concerning official matters or for the production of documents shall be served in accordance with Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and a copy of the subpoena shall be sent to the General Counsel.

(3) Any employee or former employee who is served with a subpoena or other demand shall promptly advise the General Counsel of the service of the subpoena or other demand, the nature of the documents or information sought, and all relevant facts and circumstances.

(4) Absent written authorization from the Chairman of the Commission (“Chairman”), the employee shall respectfully decline to produce the requested documents, to testify, or to otherwise disclose requested information. If a court rules that the demand must be complied with despite the absence of such written authorization, the employee upon whom the demand is made shall respectfully refuse to comply based upon these regulations and Touhy v. Ragan, 340 U.S. 462 (1951).

(5) The Chairman will consider and act upon subpoenas under this section with due regard for statutory restrictions, the Commission's rules and the public interest, taking into account such factors as the need to conserve employees' time for conducting official business, the need to prevent the expenditure of the United States government's time and money for private purposes, the need to maintain impartiality between private litigants in cases where no substantial governmental interest is involved, and the relevant legal standards for determining whether justification exists for the disclosure of nonpublic information and documents. If the Chairman determines that the subpoenaed documents or information are protected by a privilege or that the Commission has a duty in law or equity to protect such documents or information from disclosure, the General Counsel shall move the court to quash the subpoena or for other appropriate action.

(6) The General Counsel may consult or negotiate with counsel or the party seeking testimony or documents to refine and limit the demand so that compliance is less burdensome, or obtain information necessary to make the determination described in paragraph (c)(5) of this section. Failure of the counsel or party seeking the testimony or documents to cooperate in good faith to enable the General Counsel to make an informed recommendation to the Chairman under paragraph (c)(5) of this section may serve as the basis for a determination not to comply with the demand.

(7) Permission to testify will, in all cases, be limited to the information set forth in the affidavit as described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, or to such portions thereof as the Chairman deems proper.

(8) If the Chairman authorizes the testimony of an employee, then the General Counsel shall arrange for the taking of the testimony by methods that are least disruptive of the official duties of the employee. Testimony may, for example, be provided by affidavits, answers to interrogatories, written depositions, or depositions transcribed, recorded, or preserved by any other means allowable by law. Costs of providing testimony, including transcripts, will be borne by the party requesting the testimony. Such costs shall also include reimbursing the Commission for the usual and ordinary expenses attendant upon the employee's absence from his or her official duties in connection with the case or matter, including the employee's salary and applicable overhead charges and any necessary travel expenses.

(9) The Secretary in consultation with the General Counsel is further authorized to charge reasonable fees to parties demanding documents or information. Such fees, calculated to reimburse the government for the expense of responding to such demand, may include the costs of time expended by Commission employees to process and respond to the demand, attorney time for reviewing the demand and for related legal work in connection with the demand, and expenses generated by equipment used to search for, produce and copy the responsive information. In general, such fees will be assessed at the rates and in the manner specified in § 201.20 of this part.

(10) This section does not affect the rights and procedures governing the public access to official documents pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act.

(11) This section is intended to provide instructions to Commission employees and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party against the Commission.

[ 40 FR 8328, Feb. 27, 1975, as amended at 54 FR 13676, Apr. 5, 1989; 68 FR 32975, June 3, 2003]

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