25 CFR § 517.6 - Timing of responses to requests.
(a) In general. The FOIA Officer ordinarily shall respond to requests according to their order of receipt. All statutory and regulatory timelines will commence on the date that the request is received by the Commission's Headquarters FOIA Office that is designated to receive requests in § 517.4(a). In instances of requests misdirected to Commission field offices, the response time will commence on the date that the request is received by the Commission's Headquarters FOIA Office, but in any event no later than 10 working days after the request is first received by any Commission office.
(b) Multitrack processing.
(1) The FOIA Officer may use multi-track processing in responding to requests. Multi-track processing means placing simple requests requiring rather limited review in one processing track and placing more voluminous and complex requests in one or more other tracks. Requests in either track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis.
(2) The FOIA Officer may provide requesters in its slower track(s) with an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests in order to qualify for faster processing within the specified limits of faster track(s). The FOIA Officer will do so either by contacting the requester by letter, telephone, electronic mail, or facsimile whichever is more efficient in each case. When providing a requester with the opportunity to limit the scope of their request, the FOIA Officer shall also advise the requester of the availability of the Commission's FOIA Public Liaison to aid in the resolution of any dispute arising between the requester and the Commission as well as the requester's right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.
(c) Initial determinations.
(1) The FOIA Officer shall make an initial determination regarding access to the requested information and notify the requester within twenty (20) working days after receipt of the request. This 20 day period may be extended if unusual circumstances arise. If an extension is necessary, the FOIA Officer shall promptly notify the requester of the extension, briefly stating the reasons for the extension, and estimating when the FOIA Officer will respond. Unusual circumstances warranting extension are:
(iii) The need for consultation with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request, which consultation shall be conducted with all practicable speed.
(2) If the FOIA Officer decides that an initial determination cannot be reached within the time limits specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the FOIA Officer shall notify the requester of the reasons for the delay and include an estimate of when a determination will be made. The requester will then have the opportunity to modify the request or arrange for an alternative time frame for completion of the request. To assist in this process, the FOIA Officer shall advise the requester of the availability of the Commission's FOIA Public Liaison to aid in the resolution of any disputes between the requester and the Commission, and notify the requester of his or her right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.
(3) If no initial determination has been made at the end of the 20 day period provided for in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, including any extension, the requester may appeal the action to the FOIA Appeals Officer.
(d) Expedited processing of request.
(1) A requester may make a request for expedited processing at any time.
(2) When a request for expedited processing is received, the FOIA Officer must determine whether to grant the request for expedited processing within ten (10) calendar days of its receipt. Requests will receive expedited processing if one of the following compelling needs is met:
(ii) The requester is primarily engaged in disseminating information and can demonstrate that an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity exists.
(3) A requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct, explaining in detail the basis for making the request for expedited processing. As a matter of administrative discretion, the FOIA Officer may waive the formal certification requirement.
(4) Administrative appeals of denials of expedited processing will be given expeditious consideration. If the denial of expedited processing is upheld by the FOIA Appeals Officer, that decision is immediately subject to judicial review in the appropriate Federal district court.