24 CFR 2002.11 - Review of records, aggregating requests and waiving or reducing fees.
(a) Review of records. Only requesters who are seeking documents for commercial use may be charged for the time HUD spends reviewing records to determine whether they are exempt from mandatory disclosure. Charges may be assessed only for the initial review (i.e., the review undertaken the first time HUD analyzes the applicability of a specific exemption to a particular record or portion of a record). HUD will not charge for review at the administrative appeal level of an exemption already applied. However, records or portions of records withheld in full under an exemption which is subsequently determined not to apply may be reviewed again to determine the applicability of other exemptions not previously considered. The costs for such a subsequent review would be properly assessable. Review time will be assessed at the same rates established for search time in § 15.110 of this title.
(b) Aggregating requests. A requester may not file multiple requests at the same time, each seeking portions of a document or documents, solely in order to avoid payment of fees. When HUD reasonably believes that a requester or a group of requesters acting in concert, is attempting to break a request down into a series of requests for the purpose of evading the assessment of fees, HUD may aggregate any such requests and charge accordingly.
(c) Waiving or reducing fees. HUD will furnish documents without charge or at reduced charge if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. The official authorized to grant access to records may waive or reduce the applicable fee where requested. The determination not to waive or reduce the fee will be subject to administrative review as provided in § 2002.25 after the decision on the request for access has been made. Six factors shall be used in determining whether the requirements for a fee waiver or reduction are met. These factors are as follows:
(1) The subject of the request: Whether the subject of the requested records concerns “the operations or activities of the government”;
(2) The informative value of the information to be disclosed: Whether the disclosure is “likely to contribute” to an understanding of government operations or activities;
(3) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public likely to result from disclosure: Whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to “public understanding”;
(4) The significance of the contribution to public understanding: Whether the disclosure is likely to contribute “significantly” to public understanding of government operations or activities;
(5) The existence and magnitude of a commercial interest: Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and, if so
(6) The primary interest in disclosure: Whether the magnitude of the identified commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is “primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.”