45 CFR 1602.8 - Requests for records.
(a) Except for records required by the FOIA to be published in the Federal Register (§ 1602.4) or to be made available in the public reading room (§ 1602.5), Corporation records will be made promptly available, upon request, to any person in accordance with this section, unless it is determined that such records should be withheld and are exempt from mandatory disclosure under the FOIA and § 1602.9.
(b) Requests. Requests for records under this section shall be made in writing, with the envelope and the letter or e-mail request clearly marked Freedom of Information Act Request. All such requests shall be addressed to the Corporation's Office of Legal Affairs or, in the case of requests for records maintained by the Office of Inspector General, to the Office of Inspector General. Requests by letter shall use the address given in § 1602.5(a). E-mail requests shall be addressed to FOIA@lsc.gov or, in the case of requests for records maintained by the Office of Inspector General, FOIA@oig.lsc.gov. Any request not marked and addressed as specified in this paragraph will be so marked by Corporation personnel as soon as it is properly identified, and will be forwarded immediately to the Office of Legal Affairs, or as appropriate, the Office of Inspector General. A request improperly addressed will only be deemed to have been received as in accordance with paragraph (i) of this section. Upon receipt of an improperly addressed request, the General Counsel or designee (or Counsel to the Inspector General or designee) shall notify the requester of the date on which the time period began.
(c) A request must reasonably describe the records requested so that employees of the Corporation who are familiar with the subject area of the request are able, with a reasonable amount of effort, to determine which particular records are within the scope of the request. If it is determined that a request does not reasonably describe the records sought, the requester shall be so informed and provided an opportunity to confer with Corporation personnel in order to attempt to reformulate the request in a manner that will meet the needs of the requester and the requirements of this paragraph.
(d) To facilitate the location of records by the Corporation, a requester should try to provide the following kinds of information, if known:
(1) The specific event or action to which the record refers;
(2) The unit or program of the Corporation which may be responsible for or may have produced the record;
(3) The date of the record or the date or period to which it refers or relates;
(4) The type of record, such as an application, a grant, a contract, or a report;
(5) Personnel of the Corporation who may have prepared or have knowledge of the record;
(6) Citations to newspapers or publications which have referred to the record.
(e) The Corporation is not required to create a record or to perform research to satisfy a request.
(f) Estimated fees. The Corporation shall advise the requester of any estimated fees as promptly as possible. The Corporation may require that fees be paid in advance, in accordance with § 1602.13(i), and the Corporation will advise a requester as promptly as possible if the fees are estimated to exceed $25 or any limit indicated by the requester.
(g) Any request for a waiver or reduction of fees should be included in the FOIA request, and any such request should indicate the grounds for a waiver or reduction of fees, as set out in § 1602.13(f). The Corporation shall respond to such request as promptly as possible.
(h) Format. The Corporation will provide records in the form or format indicated by the requester to the extent such records are readily reproducible in the requested form or format.
(i) The General Counsel or designee, upon request for any records made in accordance with this section, except in the case of a request for Office of Inspector General records, shall make an initial determination of whether to comply with or deny such request and dispatch such determination to the requester within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) after receipt of such request, except for unusual circumstances, in which case the time limit may be extended for up to 10 working days by written notice to the requester setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched.
(ii) In the case of a request for any Office of Inspector General records made in accordance with this section, the Counsel to the Inspector General or designee shall make an initial determination of whether to comply with or deny such request and dispatch such determination to the requester within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) after receipt of such request, except for unusual circumstances, in which case the time limit may be extended for up to 10 working days by written notice to the requester setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched.
(i) If the General Counsel or designee determines that a request or portion thereof is for the Office of Inspector General records, the General Counsel or designee shall promptly refer the request or portion thereof to the Office of Inspector General and send notice of such referral to the requester. If the Counsel to the Inspector General or designee determines that a request or portion thereof is for Corporation records not maintained by the Office of Inspector General, the Counsel to the Inspector General or designee shall promptly refer the request or portion thereof to the Office of Legal Affairs and send notice of such referral to the requester.
(ii) The 20-day period under paragraph (i)(1) of this section shall commence on the date on which the request is first received by the appropriate Office (the Office of Legal Affairs or the Office of Inspector General), but in no event later than 10 working days after the request has been received by either the Office of Legal Affairs or the Office of Inspector General. The 20-day period shall not be tolled by the Office processing the request except that the processing Office may make one request to the requester for information pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section and toll the 20-day period while it is awaiting such information that it has reasonably requested from the requester under this section; or, if necessary to clarify with the requester issues regarding fee assessment. In either case, the processing Office's receipt of the requester's response to such a request for information or clarification ends the tolling period.
(3) Unusual circumstances. As used in this part, “unusual circumstances” are limited to the following, but only to the extent reasonably necessary for the proper processing of the particular request:
(i) The need to search for and collect the requested records from establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;
(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 shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency or organization, such as a recipient, having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the Corporation having substantial subject matter interest therein.
(j) If a request is particularly broad or complex so that it cannot be completed within the time periods stated in paragraph (i) of this section, the Corporation may ask the requester to narrow the request or agree to an additional delay.
(k) When no determination can be dispatched within the applicable time limit, the General Counsel or designee or the Counsel to the Inspector General or designee shall inform the requester of the reason for the delay, the date on which a determination may be expected to be dispatched, and the requester's right to treat the delay as a denial and to appeal to the Corporation's President or Inspector General, in accordance with § 1602.12. If no determination has been dispatched by the end of the 20-day period, or the last extension thereof, the requester may deem the request denied, and exercise a right of appeal in accordance with § 1602.12. The General Counsel or designee or the Counsel to the Inspector General or designee may ask the requester to forego appeal until a determination is made.
(l) After it has been determined that a request will be granted, the Corporation will act with due diligence in providing a substantive response.
(1) Expedited treatment. Requests and appeals will be taken out of order and given expedited treatment whenever the requester demonstrates a compelling need. A compelling need means:
(i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;
(ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Corporation or Federal government activity and the request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information;
(iii) The loss of substantial due process rights; or
(iv) A matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the Corporation's or the Federal government's integrity which affect public confidence.
(2) A request for expedited processing may be made at the time of the initial request for records or at any later time. For a prompt determination, a request for expedited processing must be properly addressed and marked and received by the Corporation pursuant to paragraphs (b) of this section.
(3) A requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a statement demonstrating a compelling need that is certified by the requester to be true and correct to the best of that person's knowledge and belief, explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing.
(4) Within ten calendar days of its receipt of a request for expedited processing, the General Counsel or designee or the Inspector General or designee shall decide whether to grant the request and shall notify the requester of the decision. If a request for expedited treatment is granted, the request shall be given priority and shall be processed as soon as practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, any appeal of that decision shall be acted on expeditiously by the Corporation.