36 CFR § 404.10 - Waiver or reduction of charges.

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§ 404.10 Waiver or reduction of charges.

Requesters may seek a waiver of fees by submitting a written application demonstrating how disclosure of the requested 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.

(a) ABMC will waive its fees in whole or in part when it determines, based on all available information, that the following factors are satisfied:

(1) Disclosure of the requested information will shed light on identifiable operations or activities of the Federal Government with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated.

(2) The disclosure will contribute to the understanding of a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requester. ABMC will consider the requester's expertise in the subject area as well as the requester's ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public. ABMC will presume that a representative of the news media satisfies this consideration.

(3) The disclosure is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Requesters will be given an opportunity to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration. ABMC ordinarily will presume that when a news media requester has satisfied factors in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section, the request is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(b) Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the requirements for a waiver of fees, a waiver must be granted for those records.

(c) Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees should be made when the request is first submitted to the agency and should address the criteria referenced in paragraph (a) of this section. A requester may submit a fee waiver request at a later time so long as the underlying record request is pending or on administrative appeal. When a requester who has committed to pay fees subsequently asks for a waiver of those fees and that waiver is denied, the requester must pay any costs incurred up to the date the fee waiver request was received.

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