Rule Implementing the Freedom of Information Act, 38366-38371 [E9-18353]

Download as PDF sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with PROPOSALS 38366 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 147 / Monday, August 3, 2009 / Proposed Rules prevent unauthorized disclosure or destruction of manual and automated records systems. These security safeguards shall apply to all systems of records in which identifiable personal data are processed or maintained, including all reports and output from such systems of records that contain identifiable personal information. Such safeguards must be sufficient to prevent negligent, accidental, or unintentional disclosure, modification, or destruction of any personal records or data; must minimize, to the extent practicable, the risk that skilled technicians or knowledgeable persons could improperly obtain access to modify or destroy such records or data; and shall further ensure against such casual entry by unskilled persons without official reasons for access to such records or data. (a) Manual systems. (1) Records contained in a system of records as defined in this part may be used, held, or stored only where facilities are adequate to prevent unauthorized access by persons within or outside the Board. (2) Access to and use of a system of records shall be permitted only to persons whose duties require such access to the information for routine uses or for such other uses as may be provided in this part. (3) Other than for access by employees or agents of the Board, access to records within a system of records shall be permitted only to the individual to whom the record pertains or upon his or her written request. (4) The Board shall ensure that all persons whose duties require access to and use of records contained in a system of records are adequately trained to protect the security and privacy of such records. (5) The disposal and destruction of identifiable personal data records shall be done by shredding and in accordance with rules promulgated by the Archivist of the United States. (b) Automated systems. (1) Identifiable personal information may be processed, stored, or maintained by automated data systems only where facilities or conditions are adequate to prevent unauthorized access to such systems in any form. (2) Access to and use of identifiable personal data associated with automated data systems shall be limited to those persons whose duties require such access. Proper control of personal data in any form associated with automated data systems shall be maintained at all times, including maintenance of accountability records showing disposition of input and output documents. VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:52 Jul 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 (3) All persons whose duties require access to processing and maintenance of identifiable personal data and automated systems shall be adequately trained in the security and privacy of personal data. (4) The disposal and disposition of identifiable personal data and automated systems shall be done by shredding, burning, or, in the case of electronic records, by degaussing or by overwriting with the appropriate security software, in accordance with regulations of the Archivist of the United States or other appropriate authority. § 200.15 Systems of records covered by exemptions. The Board currently has no exempt systems of records. § 200.16 Mailing lists. The Board shall not sell or rent an individual’s name and/or address unless such action is specifically authorized by law. This section shall not be construed to require the withholding of names and addresses otherwise permitted to be made public. Ivan J. Flores, Paralegal Specialist, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. [FR Doc. E9–18352 Filed 7–31–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820–GA–P RECOVERY ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY BOARD ADDRESSES: Comments on this proposed rule may be submitted: By Mail or Hand Delivery: Office of General Counsel, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006; By Fax: (202) 254–7970; or By E-mail to the Board: comments@ratb.gov. All comments on this proposed FOIA rule should be clearly identified as such. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Dure, General Counsel, (202) 254–7900. This proposed rule is intended to set forth the procedures for members of the public to request records from the Board under both the FOIA and the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996. The rule also sets forth the procedures that the Board will use when responding to such requests. It sets up the time frames for responses and the current fee schedule for any applicable charges for information. The rule also supplies information about Board materials available to the public through the Board’s Web site. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Order No. 12866 These proposed regulations do not meet the criteria for a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. Thus, review by the Office of Management and Budget is not required. 4 CFR Part 201 Regulatory Flexibility Act RIN 0430–AA01 These proposed regulations will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, a regulatory flexibility analysis as provided by the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended, is not required. Rule Implementing the Freedom of Information Act AGENCY: Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. ACTION: Proposed rule. The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (Board) is proposing to implement a set of procedural regulations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552, and Public Law 104–231, the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996. These proposed regulations have been written to conform to the statutory provisions in the Acts, to expedite the processing of FOIA requests received by the Board, and to ensure the proper dissemination of information to the public. DATES: Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted no later than October 2, 2009. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Paperwork Reduction Act These proposed regulations impose no additional reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Therefore, clearance by the Office of Management and Budget is not required. List of Subjects in 4 CFR Part 201 Administrative practice and procedure; Freedom of Information; Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Therefore, the Board proposes to amend Chapter II of Title 4 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, by adding part 201 to read as follows: E:\FR\FM\03AUP1.SGM 03AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 147 / Monday, August 3, 2009 / Proposed Rules PART 201—PUBLIC INFORMATION AND REQUESTS Sec. 201.1 Scope. 201.2 Definitions. 201.3 Electronic reading room. 201.4 Board records exempt from public disclosure. 201.5 Requests for Board records. 201.6 Responsibility, form, and content of responses. 201.7 Time of responses to requests. 201.8 Fees. 201.9 Restrictions on charging fees. 201.10 Notice of anticipated fees. 201.11 Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees. 201.12 Denials. 201.13 Business information. 201.14 Appeals. 201.15 Preservation of records. 201.16 Other rights and services. 201.17 How to track a FOIA request. Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 5 U.S.C. 552 as amended; Executive Order 12600, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 235. § 201.1 Scope. This part sets forth the policies and procedures of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (Board) regarding public access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA or the Act), 5 U.S.C. 552. The provisions in the Act shall take precedence over any part of the Board’s regulations in conflict with the Act. This part gives the procedures the public may use to inspect and obtain copies of Board records under the FOIA, including administrative procedures which must be exhausted before a requestor invokes the jurisdiction of an appropriate United States District Court for the Board’s failure to respond to a proper request within the statutory time limits, for a denial of Board records or challenges to the adequacy of a search, or for denial of fee waiver. sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with PROPOSALS § 201.2 Definitions. For words used in this document, unless the context indicates otherwise, singular includes the plural, plural includes the singular, present tense includes the future tense, and words of one gender include the other gender. (a)(1) Agency records—Include materials that are in the control of the Board and associated with Board business, as follows: (i) Materials produced by the Board. (ii) Materials produced by staff for the Board. (iii) Materials distributed by presenters at a Board meeting or Board Committee meeting. (2) All references to records include the entire record and/or any part of the record. VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:52 Jul 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 (b) Board—The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. (c) Chairman—The Chairman of the Board is designated or appointed by the President. (d) Designated FOIA Officer—The person designated to administer the Board’s activities in regard to the regulations in this part. The FOIA Officer shall be: (1) The Board officer having custody of, or responsibility for, agency records in the possession of the Board. (2) The Board officer having responsibility for authorizing or denying production of records from requests filed under the FOIA. (e) Executive Director—The chief operating officer of the Board. (f) Member—An individual appointed to serve on the Board pursuant to Title XV, Subtitle B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 111–5). (g) Days—Standard working days, excluding weekends and Federal holidays. § 201.3 Publicly available documents and electronic reading room. (a) Many Board records are available electronically at the Board’s Web site (http://www.recovery.gov). (b) Records available electronically on the Board’s Web site include: (1) The rules and regulations of the Board. (2) Statements of policy adopted by the Board. (3) Board reports to the President and Congress, including the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives. (4) Congressional Testimony of the Chairman of the Board. (5) Biographical information about the Chairman and other Board members. (6) Copies of records repeatedly released in response to FOIA requests. (c) The cost of copying information available in the Board office shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of § 201.8. § 201.4 Board records exempt from public disclosure. 5 U.S.C. 552 provides that the requirements of the FOIA do not apply to matters that are: (a) Specifically authorized under the criteria established by an executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such an executive order. (b) Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the Board. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 38367 (c) Specifically exempted from disclosure by another Federal statute, provided that such statute: (1) Requires that records are withheld from the public in such a manner that leaves no discretion on the issue; or (2) Establishes criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld. (d) Trade secrets, and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential. (e) Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the Board. (f) Personnel, medical, or similar files that disclosing would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. (g) Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records of information: (1) Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings; (2) Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication; (3) Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; (4) Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of any confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority, or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement agency in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source; (5) Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or (6) Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual. (h) Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports, prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions. (i) Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells. § 201.5 Requests for Board records. (a) To request Board records, you may: (1) Write: FOIA Officer, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, E:\FR\FM\03AUP1.SGM 03AUP1 sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with PROPOSALS 38368 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 147 / Monday, August 3, 2009 / Proposed Rules 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006; (2) Send a request via e-mail at FOIA@ratb.gov; or (3) Fax: (202) 254–7970. (b) When requesting records under this section you must state, in writing: (1) Your full name, (2) Address, (3) Telephone number and, (4) At your option, electronic mail address. (c) When making a request for records about a person, Privacy Act regulations also may apply. Please check the regulations for additional requirements before submitting a request. When making a request for records about someone other than yourself, you must include either: (1) Written authorization signed by the person permitting you to see the records; or (2) Proof that the individual is deceased (e.g., a death certificate or obituary). (d) A request will be considered received for purposes of § 201.7 on the date that it is received by the Board’s FOIA office. For prompt handling, write ‘‘Freedom of Information Act Request’’ on the letter and envelope or in the subject line of the e-mail request or fax. (e) Each request must clearly describe the desired records in sufficient detail to enable Board personnel to locate them with reasonable effort. Response to requests may be delayed if the records are not clearly described. (f) Whenever possible, requests should include specific information about each record sought, such as date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject. (g) If the FOIA Officer determines that the request does not clearly describe the records sought, he or she will either advise you of the additional information needed to locate the record or otherwise state why the request is insufficient. You will then be given the opportunity to provide additional information or to modify your request. (h) Submitting a FOIA request shall be considered a commitment by the requestor to pay applicable fees required under § 201.8 unless the requestor seeks a waiver of fees. When making a request, you may specify a willingness to pay fees up to a specific amount. (i) The FOIA does not require the Board to: (1) Compile or create records solely for the purpose of satisfying a request for records. (2) Provide records not yet in existence, even if such records may be expected to come into existence at some time in the future. VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:52 Jul 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 (3) Restore records destroyed or otherwise disposed of, except that the FOIA Officer must notify the requestor that the records have been destroyed or otherwise disposed of. § 201.6 Responsibility, form, and content of response. The Board’s Executive Director or his/ her designated FOIA Officer is authorized to grant or deny any request for a record and determine appropriate fees. When determining which records are responsive to a request, the Board will include only records in its possession as of the date of the request. (a) If no records are responsive to the request, the FOIA Officer will notify the requestor in writing. (b) When the FOIA Officer denies a request in whole or in part, he/she will notify the requestor in writing. The response will be signed by the FOIA Officer and will include: (1) The name and title or position of the person making the denial; (2) A brief statement of the reasons for the denial, including the FOIA exemption(s) that the FOIA Officer has relied on in denying the request; and (3) A statement that the denial may be appealed under § 201.14 and a description of the requirements of that section. (c) Referrals. When a request for a record not created by the Board is received, the Board shall refer the requestor to the issuing agency in writing, providing the address of the agency contact and the section(s) referred. (d) Timing of responses to requests sent to other agencies. The Board shall provide, within the FOIA deadline, responses only to those parts of the request not referred. (e) Agreements on referrals. The Board may make agreements with other agencies to eliminate the need for referrals for particular types of records. § 201.7 Timing of responses to requests. (a) General. The Board shall normally respond to requests in the order of their receipt. (b) Acknowledgement of requests. On receipt of a request, the Board shall send an acknowledgement letter or an e-mail confirming the requestor’s agreement to pay fees under § 201.8 and providing a request number for future reference. (c) Time limits for responding to FOIA requests. The Board shall make an initial determination to grant or deny a request for records within 20 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday and holidays) after the date of receipt of the request, as described in § 201.5(d), except as stated in paragraph (f) of this PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 section. Once the Board determines whether it can grant a request entirely or in part, it shall notify the requestor in writing. The Board shall advise the requestor of any fees to be charged under § 201.8 and shall disclose records promptly on payment of the fees. Records disclosed in part shall be marked or annotated to show the amount of information deleted unless doing so would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption. The location of the information deleted also shall be indicated on the record when technically feasible. (d) Unusual circumstances. (1) If the statutory time limits for processing a request cannot be met because of ‘‘unusual circumstances’’ as defined in the FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(6)(B)(iii)), the Board shall promptly notify the requestor in writing, explaining the circumstances and giving the date by which the request can be completed or if the Board cannot complete the request. If the extension is for more than 10 working days, the Board shall provide the requestor with an opportunity to: (i) Modify the request so that it can be processed within the time limit; or (ii) Arrange an alternative time period for processing the original request. (2) If the Board believes that multiple requests submitted by a requestor or by requestors acting in concert constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and if the requests involve clearly related matters, they may be aggregated. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated. (e) Expedited processing. (1) Requests and appeals shall be taken out of order and given expedited processing whenever it is determined that they involve: (i) Circumstances that could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or (ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged activity if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information. (2) Requests for expedited processing may be made either at the time of the initial request or at a later time. (3) Requests for expedited processing must include a statement explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing. For example, a requestor under § 201.8 must establish that his/ her professional activity is news reporting, although it need not be his/ her sole occupation. The requestor also must establish a particular urgency to inform the public about government activity involved in the request, beyond E:\FR\FM\03AUP1.SGM 03AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 147 / Monday, August 3, 2009 / Proposed Rules the public’s right to know about government activity generally. (4) Within 10 calendar days of receipt of a request for expedited processing, the Board shall decide whether to grant the request and notify the requestor of its decision. If a request for expedited treatment is granted, the request shall be processed as soon as practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, an appeal of that decision shall be acted on expeditiously. (f) Tolling of time limits. (1) The Board may toll the 20-day time period to: (i) Make one request for additional information from the requester; or (ii) Clarify the applicability or amount of any fees, if necessary, with the requester. (2) The tolling period ends upon the Board’s receipt of information from the requester or resolution of the fee issue. sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with PROPOSALS § 201.8 Fees. (a) General. The Board shall charge for processing requests under the FOIA in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, except where fees are limited under § 201.9 or where a waiver or reduction of fees is granted under § 201.11. Fees must be paid before the copies of records are sent. Fees may be paid by check or money order payable to the Treasury of the United States. (b) Definitions for this section—(1) Commercial use request—A request from, or on behalf of, a person who seeks information for a purpose that furthers his/her commercial, trade, or profit interests including furthering those interests through litigation. The Board shall try to determine the use to which a record will be put. When the Board believes that a request is for commercial use either because of the nature of the request or because the Board has cause to doubt the stated use, the Board shall ask the requestor for clarification. (2) Direct costs—Expenses that the Board incurs in searching for, duplicating, and reviewing records in response to a request. Direct costs include the full salary of the employee performing the work and the cost of duplication of the records. Overhead expenses, such as the cost of space, heating, and lighting, are not included. (3) Duplication—Making a copy of a record or the information in the record, to respond to a request. Copies can be in paper, electronic, or other format. The Board shall honor a requestor’s preference for format if the record is readily reproducible in that format at a reasonable cost. (4) Educational institution—A public or private undergraduate, graduate, VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:52 Jul 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 professional or vocational school that has a program of scholarly research. For a request to be in this category, a requestor must show that the request is authorized by and made under the auspices of the qualifying institution and that the records will be used for scholarly research. (5) Noncommercial scientific institution—An institution that is not operated on a commercial basis, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section and is operated solely for conducting scientific research that does not promote any particular product or industry. For a request to be in this category, the requestor must show that the request is authorized and made under the auspices of the qualifying institution and that the records will be used for further scientific research. (6) Representative of the news media—Any person who, or entity that, gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. A freelance journalist shall be regarded as working for a news media entity if the person can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that entity, whether or not the journalist is actually employed by that entity. A publication contract is one example of a basis for expecting publication that ordinarily would satisfy this standard. The Board may consider past publication records of the requester in determining whether he or she qualifies as a ‘‘representative of the news media.’’ (7) Review—Examining a record to determine whether any part of it is exempt from disclosure, and processing a record for disclosure. Review costs are recoverable even if a record is not disclosed. Review time includes time spent considering any formal objection to disclosure made by a business submitter under § 201.13 but does not include time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions. (8) Search—The process of looking for and retrieving records, including pageby-page or line-by-line identification of information within records and reasonable efforts to locate and retrieve information from records maintained in electronic form. The Board shall ensure that searches are done in the most efficient and least expensive way that is reasonably possible. (c) Fees. In responding to FOIA requests, the Board shall charge the following fees unless a waiver or a reduction of fees has been granted under § 201.11. PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 38369 (1) Search. (i) Search fees shall be charged for all requests subject to the limitations of § 201.9. The Board may charge for time spent searching even if no responsive record is located, or if the record(s) located are withheld as exempt from disclosure. (ii) For each quarter hour spent by clerical personnel in searching for and retrieving a requested record, the fee will be $5. If a search and retrieval requires the use of professional personnel, the fee will be $8 for each quarter hour. If the time of managerial personnel is required, the fee will be $10 for each quarter hour. (iii) For computer searches for records, requestors will be charged the direct costs of conducting the search although certain requestors (see § 201.9(a)) will be charged no search fee and certain other requestors (see § 201.9(b)) will be entitled to two hours of manual search time without charge. Direct costs include the cost of operating a computer for the search time for requested records and the operator salary for the search. (2) Duplication. Duplication fees for paper copies of a record will be 10 cents per page for black and white and 20 cents per page for color. For all other forms of duplication, the Board shall charge the direct costs of producing the copy. All charges are subject to the limitations of §§ 201.9 and 201.11. (3) Review. When a commercial-use request is made, review fees shall be charged as stated in paragraph (c)(1) of this section. These fees apply only to the initial record review, when the Board determines whether an exemption applies to a particular record. Charges shall not be imposed for review at the administrative appeal level if an exemption is applied. However, records withheld under an exemption that is subsequently determined not to apply may be reviewed again to determine whether any other exemption not previously considered applies. The costs of that review shall be charged. All review fees shall be charged at the same rates as those charged in paragraph (c)(1) of this section. § 201.9 Restrictions on charging fees. (a) When determining search or review fees: (1) No search fee shall be charged for requests by educational institutions, noncommercial scientific institutions, or representatives of the news media. (2) The Board shall provide without charge to all but commercial users: (i) The first 100 pages of black and white duplication (or the cost equivalent); and E:\FR\FM\03AUP1.SGM 03AUP1 38370 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 147 / Monday, August 3, 2009 / Proposed Rules (ii) The first two hours of search by a clerical staff member (or the cost equivalent). (3) When the total fee for a request will be $14.00 or less for any request, no fee shall be charged. (b) The Board will not assess search and/or duplication fees, as applicable, if it fails to respond to a requester’s FOIA request within the time limits specified under 4 CFR 201.7, and no ‘‘unusual’’ circumstances (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B) and 4 CFR 201.7(d)) or ‘‘exceptional’’ circumstances (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C)) apply to the processing of the request. sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with PROPOSALS § 201.10 Notice of anticipated fees. (a) General. The Board shall advise the requestor in writing of any applicable fees. If only a part of the fee can be estimated readily, the Board shall advise the requestor that this may be only a part of the total fee. After the requestor has been sent a fee estimate, the request shall not be considered received until the requestor makes a firm commitment to pay the anticipated total fee. Any such agreement must be made by the requestor in writing and must be received within 60 days of the Board’s notice. If the requestor does not provide a firm commitment to pay the anticipated fee within 60 days of the notice, the request shall be closed. The requestor may be given an opportunity to work with the Board to change the request and lower the cost. (b) Charges for other services. When the Board chooses as a matter of administrative discretion to provide a special service, such as certifying that records are true copies or sending them by other than ordinary mail, the Board shall pay the costs of providing the services unless previous arrangements have been made with the requestor. (c) Charging interest. The Board may charge interest on any unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the date of billing. Interest charges shall be assessed at the rate provided in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and shall accrue from the date of the billing until payment is received by the Board. The Board shall follow the provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97–365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended. (d) Aggregating requests. If the Board reasonably believes that a requestor or a group of requestors acting together is trying to divide a request into a series of smaller requests for the purpose of avoiding fees, the Board may aggregate the requests and charge accordingly. The Board shall assume that multiple requests of the same type made within a 30-day period have been made in order to avoid fees. If requests are VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:52 Jul 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 separated by a longer period, the Board shall aggregate them only if there is a solid basis for determining that aggregation is warranted. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters shall not be aggregated. (e) Advance payments. When a requestor has previously failed to pay promptly a properly charged FOIA fee to the Board or another agency, the Board shall require proof that full payment has been made to that agency before it begins to process that requestor’s FOIA request. The Board shall also require advance payment of the full amount of the anticipated fee. When advance payment is required, the request is not considered received until payment has been made. § 201.11 Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees. (a) Fees for processing your request may be waived if you meet the criteria listed in paragraph (b) of this section. The burden is on you to justify entitlement to a fee waiver. Requests for fee waivers are decided on a case-bycase basis. The fact that you have received a fee waiver in the past does not mean you are automatically entitled to a fee waiver for every request you may submit, because the essential element of any fee waiver determination is whether the release of the particular documents sought in the request will likely contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. The Board will rely on the fee waiver justification you have submitted in your request letter. If you do not submit sufficient justification, your fee waiver request will be denied. The Board may, at its discretion, communicate with you to request additional information if necessary. However, the Board must make a determination on the fee waiver request within the statutory time limit, even if the Board has not received such additional information. In certain circumstances, a partial fee waiver may be appropriate, if some, but not all, of the requested records are likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government. (b) The Board will waive fees (in whole or part) if disclosure of all or part of the information is in the public interest because of its release: (1) Is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government; and (2) Is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 § 201.12 Denials. (a) When denying a request in any respect, the Board shall notify the requestor of that determination in writing. The types of denials include: (1) Denials of requests, including a determination: (i) To withhold any requested record in whole or in part; (ii) That a requested record does not exist or cannot be located; (iii) That a record is not readily reproducible in the form or format sought; (iv) That what has been requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; and (v) That the material requested is not a Board record (e.g., material produced by another agency or organization). (2) A determination on any disputed fee matter, including a denial of a request for a fee waiver. (3) A denial of a request for expedited processing. (b) The denial letter shall be signed by the FOIA Officer or designee and shall include all of the following: (1) The name and title of the person responsible for the denial. (2) A brief statement of the reason(s) for the denial, including any FOIA exemptions applied in denying the request. (3) An estimate of the volume of records withheld, in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if it would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption. (4) A statement that the denial may be appealed under § 201.14 and a description of the requirements of § 201.14. § 201.13 Business information. (a) In general. Business information obtained by the Board from a submitter shall be disclosed under the FOIA only under this section. (b) Definitions. For purposes of this section: (1) Business information—commercial or financial records obtained by the Board that may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA. (2) Submitter—any person or entity from which the Board obtains business records, either directly or indirectly. The term includes but is not limited to corporations and State, local, Tribal, and foreign governments. (c) Designation of business information. Submitters of business information shall designate any part of the record considered to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA by appropriately marking the E:\FR\FM\03AUP1.SGM 03AUP1 sroberts on DSKD5P82C1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 147 / Monday, August 3, 2009 / Proposed Rules material. This may be done either at the time the record is submitted or at a reasonable time thereafter. This designation lasts for 10 years after submittal unless the submitter requests and provides justification for a longer period. (d) Notice to submitters. The Board shall provide a business submitter with prompt written notice of any FOIA request or appeal that seeks its business information under paragraph (e) of this section, except as provided in paragraph (h) of this section, to give the submitter an opportunity to object to that disclosure under paragraph (f) of this section. The notice shall either describe the records requested or include copies of the records. (e) Required notice. The Board shall give notice of a FOIA request seeking business information when: (1) The submitter has designated that the information is considered protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA; or (2) The Board has reason to believe that the information may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA. (f)(1) Objecting to disclosure. A submitter shall have 30 days to respond to the notice described in paragraph (d) of this section. If a submitter has an objection to disclosure, it is required to submit a detailed written statement including: (i) All grounds for withholding any of the information under any exemption of the FOIA, and (ii) In the case of Exemption 4, the reason why the information is a trade secret, commercial, or financial information that is privileged or confidential. (2) If a submitter fails to respond to the notice in paragraph (d) of this section within 30 days, the Board shall assume that the submitter has no objection to disclosure. The Board shall not consider information not received by the Board until after a disclosure decision has been made. Information provided by a submitter under this paragraph might itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA. (g) Notice of intent to disclose. The Board shall consider a submitter’s objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure in deciding whether to disclose the business records. Whenever the Board decides to disclose business records over the objection of a submitter, it shall give the submitter written notice, that will include: (1) A statement of the reason(s) the submitter’s objections were not sustained; VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:52 Jul 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 (2) A description of the business records to be disclosed; and (3) A specified disclosure date at a reasonable time subsequent to the notice. (h) Exceptions to notice requirements. The notice requirements in paragraphs (d) and (g) of this section shall not apply if: (1) The Board determines that the information should not be disclosed; (2) The information has been published legally or has been officially made available to the public; (3) Disclosure of the information is required by another statute or by a regulation issued in accordance with Executive Order 12600 (3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 235); or (4) The objection made by the submitter under paragraph (f) of this section appears frivolous. In such a case, the Board shall promptly notify the submitter of its decision using the guidelines in paragraph (g) of this section. (i) Notice of FOIA lawsuit. When a requestor files a lawsuit seeking to compel the disclosure of business information, the Board shall promptly notify the submitter. (j) Corresponding notice to requestors. When the Board provides a submitter with either notice and an opportunity to object to disclosure under paragraph (d) of this section or with its intent to disclose requested information under paragraph (g) of this section, the Board also shall notify the requestor(s). When a submitter files a lawsuit seeking to prevent the disclosure of business information, the Board shall notify the requestor(s). § 201.14 Appeals. (a)(1) Appeals of adverse determinations. If you are dissatisfied with the Board’s response to your request, you may appeal to the Board’s Executive Director: (i) By mail to: Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006; (ii) By e-mail to: FOIA@ratb.gov; or (iii) By fax to: 202–254–7970. (2) The appeal must be in writing and must be received within 30 days of the date of the Board’s response. The appeal letter, e-mail or fax may include as much or as little related information as you wish, as long as it clearly identifies the Board determination that you are appealing, including the assigned request number, if known. For prompt handling, please mark your appeal ‘‘Freedom of Information Act Appeal.’’ (b) Responses to appeals. Requestors shall be notified in writing of the PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 38371 decision on the appeal. A decision affirming an adverse determination shall include a statement of the reason(s) for the affirmation, including any FOIA exemption(s) applied, and shall include the FOIA provisions for court review of the decision. If the adverse determination is reversed or modified on appeal, the request shall be reprocessed in accordance with that appeal decision. (c) When appeal is required. If a review by a court of any adverse determination is desired, the determination must first be appealed under this section. (d) Denial of appeal. An adverse determination by the Executive Director shall be the final action of the Board. (e) Unacceptable appeals. An appeal will not be acted on if the request becomes a matter of FOIA litigation. § 201.15 Preservation of records. The Board shall preserve all correspondence pertaining to the requests that it receives under this subpart, as well as copies of all requested records, until disposition or destruction is authorized by title 44 of the United States Code of the National Archives and Records Administration’s General Records Schedule 14. Records will not be disposed of while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or lawsuit. § 201.16 Other rights and services. Nothing in this part shall be construed to entitle any person, as a right, to any service or to the disclosure of any record to which such person is entitled under the FOIA. § 201.17 How to track a FOIA request. (a) Tracking number. The Board will issue a tracking number to all FOIA requesters within 5 days of the receipt of the request (as described in § 201.7(b)). The tracking number will be sent via electronic mail if the requester has provided an electronic mail address. Otherwise, the Board will mail the tracking number to the requester’s physical address, as provided in the FOIA request. (b) Status of request. FOIA requesters may check the status of their FOIA request(s) by contacting the FOIA Officer at FOIA@ratb.gov or (202) 254– 7900. Ivan J. Flores, Paralegal Specialist, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. [FR Doc. E9–18353 Filed 7–31–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820–GA–P E:\FR\FM\03AUP1.SGM 03AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 147 (Monday, August 3, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 38366-38371]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-18353]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

RECOVERY ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY BOARD

4 CFR Part 201

RIN 0430-AA01


Rule Implementing the Freedom of Information Act

AGENCY: Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (Board) is 
proposing to implement a set of procedural regulations under the 
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552, and 
Public Law 104-231, the Electronic Freedom of Information Act 
Amendments of 1996. These proposed regulations have been written to 
conform to the statutory provisions in the Acts, to expedite the 
processing of FOIA requests received by the Board, and to ensure the 
proper dissemination of information to the public.

DATES: Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted no later than 
October 2, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Comments on this proposed rule may be submitted:
    By Mail or Hand Delivery: Office of General Counsel, Recovery 
Accountability and Transparency Board, 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., 
Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006;
    By Fax: (202) 254-7970; or
    By E-mail to the Board: comments@ratb.gov.
    All comments on this proposed FOIA rule should be clearly 
identified as such.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Dure, General Counsel, (202) 
254-7900.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposed rule is intended to set forth 
the procedures for members of the public to request records from the 
Board under both the FOIA and the Electronic Freedom of Information Act 
Amendments of 1996. The rule also sets forth the procedures that the 
Board will use when responding to such requests. It sets up the time 
frames for responses and the current fee schedule for any applicable 
charges for information. The rule also supplies information about Board 
materials available to the public through the Board's Web site.

Executive Order No. 12866

    These proposed regulations do not meet the criteria for a 
significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. Thus, review 
by the Office of Management and Budget is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    These proposed regulations will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, a 
regulatory flexibility analysis as provided by the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, as amended, is not required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    These proposed regulations impose no additional reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements. Therefore, clearance by the Office of 
Management and Budget is not required.

List of Subjects in 4 CFR Part 201

    Administrative practice and procedure; Freedom of Information; 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Therefore, the Board proposes to amend Chapter II of Title 4 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed elsewhere in this issue of the 
Federal Register, by adding part 201 to read as follows:

[[Page 38367]]

PART 201--PUBLIC INFORMATION AND REQUESTS

Sec.
201.1 Scope.
201.2 Definitions.
201.3 Electronic reading room.
201.4 Board records exempt from public disclosure.
201.5 Requests for Board records.
201.6 Responsibility, form, and content of responses.
201.7 Time of responses to requests.
201.8 Fees.
201.9 Restrictions on charging fees.
201.10 Notice of anticipated fees.
201.11 Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees.
201.12 Denials.
201.13 Business information.
201.14 Appeals.
201.15 Preservation of records.
201.16 Other rights and services.
201.17 How to track a FOIA request.

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 5 U.S.C. 552 as amended; Executive 
Order 12600, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 235.


Sec.  201.1  Scope.

    This part sets forth the policies and procedures of the Recovery 
Accountability and Transparency Board (Board) regarding public access 
to documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA or the Act), 5 
U.S.C. 552. The provisions in the Act shall take precedence over any 
part of the Board's regulations in conflict with the Act. This part 
gives the procedures the public may use to inspect and obtain copies of 
Board records under the FOIA, including administrative procedures which 
must be exhausted before a requestor invokes the jurisdiction of an 
appropriate United States District Court for the Board's failure to 
respond to a proper request within the statutory time limits, for a 
denial of Board records or challenges to the adequacy of a search, or 
for denial of fee waiver.


Sec.  201.2  Definitions.

    For words used in this document, unless the context indicates 
otherwise, singular includes the plural, plural includes the singular, 
present tense includes the future tense, and words of one gender 
include the other gender.
    (a)(1) Agency records--Include materials that are in the control of 
the Board and associated with Board business, as follows:
    (i) Materials produced by the Board.
    (ii) Materials produced by staff for the Board.
    (iii) Materials distributed by presenters at a Board meeting or 
Board Committee meeting.
    (2) All references to records include the entire record and/or any 
part of the record.
    (b) Board--The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.
    (c) Chairman--The Chairman of the Board is designated or appointed 
by the President.
    (d) Designated FOIA Officer--The person designated to administer 
the Board's activities in regard to the regulations in this part. The 
FOIA Officer shall be:
    (1) The Board officer having custody of, or responsibility for, 
agency records in the possession of the Board.
    (2) The Board officer having responsibility for authorizing or 
denying production of records from requests filed under the FOIA.
    (e) Executive Director--The chief operating officer of the Board.
    (f) Member--An individual appointed to serve on the Board pursuant 
to Title XV, Subtitle B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 
of 2009 (Pub. L. 111-5).
    (g) Days--Standard working days, excluding weekends and Federal 
holidays.


Sec.  201.3  Publicly available documents and electronic reading room.

    (a) Many Board records are available electronically at the Board's 
Web site (http://www.recovery.gov).
    (b) Records available electronically on the Board's Web site 
include:
    (1) The rules and regulations of the Board.
    (2) Statements of policy adopted by the Board.
    (3) Board reports to the President and Congress, including the 
Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of 
Representatives.
    (4) Congressional Testimony of the Chairman of the Board.
    (5) Biographical information about the Chairman and other Board 
members.
    (6) Copies of records repeatedly released in response to FOIA 
requests.
    (c) The cost of copying information available in the Board office 
shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of Sec.  201.8.


Sec.  201.4  Board records exempt from public disclosure.

    5 U.S.C. 552 provides that the requirements of the FOIA do not 
apply to matters that are:
    (a) Specifically authorized under the criteria established by an 
executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense 
or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such 
an executive order.
    (b) Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of 
the Board.
    (c) Specifically exempted from disclosure by another Federal 
statute, provided that such statute:
    (1) Requires that records are withheld from the public in such a 
manner that leaves no discretion on the issue; or
    (2) Establishes criteria for withholding or refers to particular 
types of matters to be withheld.
    (d) Trade secrets, and commercial or financial information obtained 
from a person and privileged or confidential.
    (e) Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters that would not 
be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with 
the Board.
    (f) Personnel, medical, or similar files that disclosing would 
constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
    (g) Records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, 
but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement 
records of information:
    (1) Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement 
proceedings;
    (2) Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an 
impartial adjudication;
    (3) Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted 
invasion of personal privacy;
    (4) Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of any 
confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or 
authority, or any private institution which furnished information on a 
confidential basis, and in the case of a record or information compiled 
by a criminal law enforcement agency in the course of a criminal 
investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful security intelligence 
investigation, information furnished by a confidential source;
    (5) Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement 
investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law 
enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could 
reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or
    (6) Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical 
safety of any individual.
    (h) Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition 
reports, prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency 
responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial 
institutions.
    (i) Geological and geophysical information and data, including 
maps, concerning wells.


Sec.  201.5  Requests for Board records.

    (a) To request Board records, you may:
    (1) Write: FOIA Officer, Recovery Accountability and Transparency 
Board,

[[Page 38368]]

1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006;
    (2) Send a request via e-mail at FOIA@ratb.gov; or
    (3) Fax: (202) 254-7970.
    (b) When requesting records under this section you must state, in 
writing:
    (1) Your full name,
    (2) Address,
    (3) Telephone number and,
    (4) At your option, electronic mail address.
    (c) When making a request for records about a person, Privacy Act 
regulations also may apply. Please check the regulations for additional 
requirements before submitting a request. When making a request for 
records about someone other than yourself, you must include either:
    (1) Written authorization signed by the person permitting you to 
see the records; or
    (2) Proof that the individual is deceased (e.g., a death 
certificate or obituary).
    (d) A request will be considered received for purposes of Sec.  
201.7 on the date that it is received by the Board's FOIA office. For 
prompt handling, write ``Freedom of Information Act Request'' on the 
letter and envelope or in the subject line of the e-mail request or 
fax.
    (e) Each request must clearly describe the desired records in 
sufficient detail to enable Board personnel to locate them with 
reasonable effort. Response to requests may be delayed if the records 
are not clearly described.
    (f) Whenever possible, requests should include specific information 
about each record sought, such as date, title or name, author, 
recipient, and subject.
    (g) If the FOIA Officer determines that the request does not 
clearly describe the records sought, he or she will either advise you 
of the additional information needed to locate the record or otherwise 
state why the request is insufficient. You will then be given the 
opportunity to provide additional information or to modify your 
request.
    (h) Submitting a FOIA request shall be considered a commitment by 
the requestor to pay applicable fees required under Sec.  201.8 unless 
the requestor seeks a waiver of fees. When making a request, you may 
specify a willingness to pay fees up to a specific amount.
    (i) The FOIA does not require the Board to:
    (1) Compile or create records solely for the purpose of satisfying 
a request for records.
    (2) Provide records not yet in existence, even if such records may 
be expected to come into existence at some time in the future.
    (3) Restore records destroyed or otherwise disposed of, except that 
the FOIA Officer must notify the requestor that the records have been 
destroyed or otherwise disposed of.


Sec.  201.6  Responsibility, form, and content of response.

    The Board's Executive Director or his/her designated FOIA Officer 
is authorized to grant or deny any request for a record and determine 
appropriate fees. When determining which records are responsive to a 
request, the Board will include only records in its possession as of 
the date of the request.
    (a) If no records are responsive to the request, the FOIA Officer 
will notify the requestor in writing.
    (b) When the FOIA Officer denies a request in whole or in part, he/
she will notify the requestor in writing. The response will be signed 
by the FOIA Officer and will include:
    (1) The name and title or position of the person making the denial;
    (2) A brief statement of the reasons for the denial, including the 
FOIA exemption(s) that the FOIA Officer has relied on in denying the 
request; and
    (3) A statement that the denial may be appealed under Sec.  201.14 
and a description of the requirements of that section.
    (c) Referrals. When a request for a record not created by the Board 
is received, the Board shall refer the requestor to the issuing agency 
in writing, providing the address of the agency contact and the 
section(s) referred.
    (d) Timing of responses to requests sent to other agencies. The 
Board shall provide, within the FOIA deadline, responses only to those 
parts of the request not referred.
    (e) Agreements on referrals. The Board may make agreements with 
other agencies to eliminate the need for referrals for particular types 
of records.


Sec.  201.7  Timing of responses to requests.

    (a) General. The Board shall normally respond to requests in the 
order of their receipt.
    (b) Acknowledgement of requests. On receipt of a request, the Board 
shall send an acknowledgement letter or an e-mail confirming the 
requestor's agreement to pay fees under Sec.  201.8 and providing a 
request number for future reference.
    (c) Time limits for responding to FOIA requests. The Board shall 
make an initial determination to grant or deny a request for records 
within 20 days (excluding Saturday, Sunday and holidays) after the date 
of receipt of the request, as described in Sec.  201.5(d), except as 
stated in paragraph (f) of this section. Once the Board determines 
whether it can grant a request entirely or in part, it shall notify the 
requestor in writing. The Board shall advise the requestor of any fees 
to be charged under Sec.  201.8 and shall disclose records promptly on 
payment of the fees. Records disclosed in part shall be marked or 
annotated to show the amount of information deleted unless doing so 
would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption. The 
location of the information deleted also shall be indicated on the 
record when technically feasible.
    (d) Unusual circumstances. (1) If the statutory time limits for 
processing a request cannot be met because of ``unusual circumstances'' 
as defined in the FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(6)(B)(iii)), the Board shall 
promptly notify the requestor in writing, explaining the circumstances 
and giving the date by which the request can be completed or if the 
Board cannot complete the request. If the extension is for more than 10 
working days, the Board shall provide the requestor with an opportunity 
to:
    (i) Modify the request so that it can be processed within the time 
limit; or
    (ii) Arrange an alternative time period for processing the original 
request.
    (2) If the Board believes that multiple requests submitted by a 
requestor or by requestors acting in concert constitute a single 
request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and if the 
requests involve clearly related matters, they may be aggregated. 
Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.
    (e) Expedited processing. (1) Requests and appeals shall be taken 
out of order and given expedited processing whenever it is determined 
that they involve:
    (i) Circumstances that could reasonably be expected to pose an 
imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
    (ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged 
activity if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating 
information.
    (2) Requests for expedited processing may be made either at the 
time of the initial request or at a later time.
    (3) Requests for expedited processing must include a statement 
explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing. For 
example, a requestor under Sec.  201.8 must establish that his/her 
professional activity is news reporting, although it need not be his/
her sole occupation. The requestor also must establish a particular 
urgency to inform the public about government activity involved in the 
request, beyond

[[Page 38369]]

the public's right to know about government activity generally.
    (4) Within 10 calendar days of receipt of a request for expedited 
processing, the Board shall decide whether to grant the request and 
notify the requestor of its decision. If a request for expedited 
treatment is granted, the request shall be processed as soon as 
practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, an appeal 
of that decision shall be acted on expeditiously.
    (f) Tolling of time limits. (1) The Board may toll the 20-day time 
period to:
    (i) Make one request for additional information from the requester; 
or
    (ii) Clarify the applicability or amount of any fees, if necessary, 
with the requester.
    (2) The tolling period ends upon the Board's receipt of information 
from the requester or resolution of the fee issue.


Sec.  201.8   Fees.

    (a) General. The Board shall charge for processing requests under 
the FOIA in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, except where 
fees are limited under Sec.  201.9 or where a waiver or reduction of 
fees is granted under Sec.  201.11. Fees must be paid before the copies 
of records are sent. Fees may be paid by check or money order payable 
to the Treasury of the United States.
    (b) Definitions for this section--(1) Commercial use request--A 
request from, or on behalf of, a person who seeks information for a 
purpose that furthers his/her commercial, trade, or profit interests 
including furthering those interests through litigation. The Board 
shall try to determine the use to which a record will be put. When the 
Board believes that a request is for commercial use either because of 
the nature of the request or because the Board has cause to doubt the 
stated use, the Board shall ask the requestor for clarification.
    (2) Direct costs--Expenses that the Board incurs in searching for, 
duplicating, and reviewing records in response to a request. Direct 
costs include the full salary of the employee performing the work and 
the cost of duplication of the records. Overhead expenses, such as the 
cost of space, heating, and lighting, are not included.
    (3) Duplication--Making a copy of a record or the information in 
the record, to respond to a request. Copies can be in paper, 
electronic, or other format. The Board shall honor a requestor's 
preference for format if the record is readily reproducible in that 
format at a reasonable cost.
    (4) Educational institution--A public or private undergraduate, 
graduate, professional or vocational school that has a program of 
scholarly research. For a request to be in this category, a requestor 
must show that the request is authorized by and made under the auspices 
of the qualifying institution and that the records will be used for 
scholarly research.
    (5) Noncommercial scientific institution--An institution that is 
not operated on a commercial basis, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of 
this section and is operated solely for conducting scientific research 
that does not promote any particular product or industry. For a request 
to be in this category, the requestor must show that the request is 
authorized and made under the auspices of the qualifying institution 
and that the records will be used for further scientific research.
    (6) Representative of the news media--Any person who, or entity 
that, gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the 
public, uses editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct 
work, and distributes that work to an audience. A freelance journalist 
shall be regarded as working for a news media entity if the person can 
demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that 
entity, whether or not the journalist is actually employed by that 
entity. A publication contract is one example of a basis for expecting 
publication that ordinarily would satisfy this standard. The Board may 
consider past publication records of the requester in determining 
whether he or she qualifies as a ``representative of the news media.''
    (7) Review--Examining a record to determine whether any part of it 
is exempt from disclosure, and processing a record for disclosure. 
Review costs are recoverable even if a record is not disclosed. Review 
time includes time spent considering any formal objection to disclosure 
made by a business submitter under Sec.  201.13 but does not include 
time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the 
application of exemptions.
    (8) Search--The process of looking for and retrieving records, 
including page-by-page or line-by-line identification of information 
within records and reasonable efforts to locate and retrieve 
information from records maintained in electronic form. The Board shall 
ensure that searches are done in the most efficient and least expensive 
way that is reasonably possible.
    (c) Fees. In responding to FOIA requests, the Board shall charge 
the following fees unless a waiver or a reduction of fees has been 
granted under Sec.  201.11.
    (1) Search. (i) Search fees shall be charged for all requests 
subject to the limitations of Sec.  201.9. The Board may charge for 
time spent searching even if no responsive record is located, or if the 
record(s) located are withheld as exempt from disclosure.
    (ii) For each quarter hour spent by clerical personnel in searching 
for and retrieving a requested record, the fee will be $5. If a search 
and retrieval requires the use of professional personnel, the fee will 
be $8 for each quarter hour. If the time of managerial personnel is 
required, the fee will be $10 for each quarter hour.
    (iii) For computer searches for records, requestors will be charged 
the direct costs of conducting the search although certain requestors 
(see Sec.  201.9(a)) will be charged no search fee and certain other 
requestors (see Sec.  201.9(b)) will be entitled to two hours of manual 
search time without charge. Direct costs include the cost of operating 
a computer for the search time for requested records and the operator 
salary for the search.
    (2) Duplication. Duplication fees for paper copies of a record will 
be 10 cents per page for black and white and 20 cents per page for 
color. For all other forms of duplication, the Board shall charge the 
direct costs of producing the copy. All charges are subject to the 
limitations of Sec. Sec.  201.9 and 201.11.
    (3) Review. When a commercial-use request is made, review fees 
shall be charged as stated in paragraph (c)(1) of this section. These 
fees apply only to the initial record review, when the Board determines 
whether an exemption applies to a particular record. Charges shall not 
be imposed for review at the administrative appeal level if an 
exemption is applied. However, records withheld under an exemption that 
is subsequently determined not to apply may be reviewed again to 
determine whether any other exemption not previously considered 
applies. The costs of that review shall be charged. All review fees 
shall be charged at the same rates as those charged in paragraph (c)(1) 
of this section.


Sec.  201.9   Restrictions on charging fees.

    (a) When determining search or review fees:
    (1) No search fee shall be charged for requests by educational 
institutions, noncommercial scientific institutions, or representatives 
of the news media.
    (2) The Board shall provide without charge to all but commercial 
users:
    (i) The first 100 pages of black and white duplication (or the cost 
equivalent); and

[[Page 38370]]

    (ii) The first two hours of search by a clerical staff member (or 
the cost equivalent).
    (3) When the total fee for a request will be $14.00 or less for any 
request, no fee shall be charged.
    (b) The Board will not assess search and/or duplication fees, as 
applicable, if it fails to respond to a requester's FOIA request within 
the time limits specified under 4 CFR 201.7, and no ``unusual'' 
circumstances (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B) and 4 CFR 201.7(d)) 
or ``exceptional'' circumstances (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C)) 
apply to the processing of the request.


Sec.  201.10   Notice of anticipated fees.

    (a) General. The Board shall advise the requestor in writing of any 
applicable fees. If only a part of the fee can be estimated readily, 
the Board shall advise the requestor that this may be only a part of 
the total fee. After the requestor has been sent a fee estimate, the 
request shall not be considered received until the requestor makes a 
firm commitment to pay the anticipated total fee. Any such agreement 
must be made by the requestor in writing and must be received within 60 
days of the Board's notice. If the requestor does not provide a firm 
commitment to pay the anticipated fee within 60 days of the notice, the 
request shall be closed. The requestor may be given an opportunity to 
work with the Board to change the request and lower the cost.
    (b) Charges for other services. When the Board chooses as a matter 
of administrative discretion to provide a special service, such as 
certifying that records are true copies or sending them by other than 
ordinary mail, the Board shall pay the costs of providing the services 
unless previous arrangements have been made with the requestor.
    (c) Charging interest. The Board may charge interest on any unpaid 
bill starting on the 31st day following the date of billing. Interest 
charges shall be assessed at the rate provided in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and 
shall accrue from the date of the billing until payment is received by 
the Board. The Board shall follow the provisions of the Debt Collection 
Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended.
    (d) Aggregating requests. If the Board reasonably believes that a 
requestor or a group of requestors acting together is trying to divide 
a request into a series of smaller requests for the purpose of avoiding 
fees, the Board may aggregate the requests and charge accordingly. The 
Board shall assume that multiple requests of the same type made within 
a 30-day period have been made in order to avoid fees. If requests are 
separated by a longer period, the Board shall aggregate them only if 
there is a solid basis for determining that aggregation is warranted. 
Multiple requests involving unrelated matters shall not be aggregated.
    (e) Advance payments. When a requestor has previously failed to pay 
promptly a properly charged FOIA fee to the Board or another agency, 
the Board shall require proof that full payment has been made to that 
agency before it begins to process that requestor's FOIA request. The 
Board shall also require advance payment of the full amount of the 
anticipated fee. When advance payment is required, the request is not 
considered received until payment has been made.


Sec.  201.11   Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees.

    (a) Fees for processing your request may be waived if you meet the 
criteria listed in paragraph (b) of this section. The burden is on you 
to justify entitlement to a fee waiver. Requests for fee waivers are 
decided on a case-by-case basis. The fact that you have received a fee 
waiver in the past does not mean you are automatically entitled to a 
fee waiver for every request you may submit, because the essential 
element of any fee waiver determination is whether the release of the 
particular documents sought in the request will likely contribute 
significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities 
of the government. The Board will rely on the fee waiver justification 
you have submitted in your request letter. If you do not submit 
sufficient justification, your fee waiver request will be denied. The 
Board may, at its discretion, communicate with you to request 
additional information if necessary. However, the Board must make a 
determination on the fee waiver request within the statutory time 
limit, even if the Board has not received such additional information. 
In certain circumstances, a partial fee waiver may be appropriate, if 
some, but not all, of the requested records are likely to contribute 
significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities 
of the government.
    (b) The Board will waive fees (in whole or part) if disclosure of 
all or part of the information is in the public interest because of its 
release:
    (1) Is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding 
of the operations or activities of the government; and
    (2) Is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.


Sec.  201.12   Denials.

    (a) When denying a request in any respect, the Board shall notify 
the requestor of that determination in writing. The types of denials 
include:
    (1) Denials of requests, including a determination:
    (i) To withhold any requested record in whole or in part;
    (ii) That a requested record does not exist or cannot be located;
    (iii) That a record is not readily reproducible in the form or 
format sought;
    (iv) That what has been requested is not a record subject to the 
FOIA; and
    (v) That the material requested is not a Board record (e.g., 
material produced by another agency or organization).
    (2) A determination on any disputed fee matter, including a denial 
of a request for a fee waiver.
    (3) A denial of a request for expedited processing.
    (b) The denial letter shall be signed by the FOIA Officer or 
designee and shall include all of the following:
    (1) The name and title of the person responsible for the denial.
    (2) A brief statement of the reason(s) for the denial, including 
any FOIA exemptions applied in denying the request.
    (3) An estimate of the volume of records withheld, in number of 
pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate 
does not need to be provided if it would harm an interest protected by 
an applicable exemption.
    (4) A statement that the denial may be appealed under Sec.  201.14 
and a description of the requirements of Sec.  201.14.


Sec.  201.13   Business information.

    (a) In general. Business information obtained by the Board from a 
submitter shall be disclosed under the FOIA only under this section.
    (b) Definitions. For purposes of this section:
    (1) Business information--commercial or financial records obtained 
by the Board that may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of 
the FOIA.
    (2) Submitter--any person or entity from which the Board obtains 
business records, either directly or indirectly. The term includes but 
is not limited to corporations and State, local, Tribal, and foreign 
governments.
    (c) Designation of business information. Submitters of business 
information shall designate any part of the record considered to be 
protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA by 
appropriately marking the

[[Page 38371]]

material. This may be done either at the time the record is submitted 
or at a reasonable time thereafter. This designation lasts for 10 years 
after submittal unless the submitter requests and provides 
justification for a longer period.
    (d) Notice to submitters. The Board shall provide a business 
submitter with prompt written notice of any FOIA request or appeal that 
seeks its business information under paragraph (e) of this section, 
except as provided in paragraph (h) of this section, to give the 
submitter an opportunity to object to that disclosure under paragraph 
(f) of this section. The notice shall either describe the records 
requested or include copies of the records.
    (e) Required notice. The Board shall give notice of a FOIA request 
seeking business information when:
    (1) The submitter has designated that the information is considered 
protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA; or
    (2) The Board has reason to believe that the information may be 
protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA.
    (f)(1) Objecting to disclosure. A submitter shall have 30 days to 
respond to the notice described in paragraph (d) of this section. If a 
submitter has an objection to disclosure, it is required to submit a 
detailed written statement including:
    (i) All grounds for withholding any of the information under any 
exemption of the FOIA, and
    (ii) In the case of Exemption 4, the reason why the information is 
a trade secret, commercial, or financial information that is privileged 
or confidential.
    (2) If a submitter fails to respond to the notice in paragraph (d) 
of this section within 30 days, the Board shall assume that the 
submitter has no objection to disclosure. The Board shall not consider 
information not received by the Board until after a disclosure decision 
has been made. Information provided by a submitter under this paragraph 
might itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.
    (g) Notice of intent to disclose. The Board shall consider a 
submitter's objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure in 
deciding whether to disclose the business records. Whenever the Board 
decides to disclose business records over the objection of a submitter, 
it shall give the submitter written notice, that will include:
    (1) A statement of the reason(s) the submitter's objections were 
not sustained;
    (2) A description of the business records to be disclosed; and
    (3) A specified disclosure date at a reasonable time subsequent to 
the notice.
    (h) Exceptions to notice requirements. The notice requirements in 
paragraphs (d) and (g) of this section shall not apply if:
    (1) The Board determines that the information should not be 
disclosed;
    (2) The information has been published legally or has been 
officially made available to the public;
    (3) Disclosure of the information is required by another statute or 
by a regulation issued in accordance with Executive Order 12600 (3 CFR, 
1987 Comp., p. 235); or
    (4) The objection made by the submitter under paragraph (f) of this 
section appears frivolous. In such a case, the Board shall promptly 
notify the submitter of its decision using the guidelines in paragraph 
(g) of this section.
    (i) Notice of FOIA lawsuit. When a requestor files a lawsuit 
seeking to compel the disclosure of business information, the Board 
shall promptly notify the submitter.
    (j) Corresponding notice to requestors. When the Board provides a 
submitter with either notice and an opportunity to object to disclosure 
under paragraph (d) of this section or with its intent to disclose 
requested information under paragraph (g) of this section, the Board 
also shall notify the requestor(s). When a submitter files a lawsuit 
seeking to prevent the disclosure of business information, the Board 
shall notify the requestor(s).


Sec.  201.14  Appeals.

    (a)(1) Appeals of adverse determinations. If you are dissatisfied 
with the Board's response to your request, you may appeal to the 
Board's Executive Director:
    (i) By mail to: Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, 
1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006;
    (ii) By e-mail to: FOIA@ratb.gov; or
    (iii) By fax to: 202-254-7970.
    (2) The appeal must be in writing and must be received within 30 
days of the date of the Board's response. The appeal letter, e-mail or 
fax may include as much or as little related information as you wish, 
as long as it clearly identifies the Board determination that you are 
appealing, including the assigned request number, if known. For prompt 
handling, please mark your appeal ``Freedom of Information Act 
Appeal.''
    (b) Responses to appeals. Requestors shall be notified in writing 
of the decision on the appeal. A decision affirming an adverse 
determination shall include a statement of the reason(s) for the 
affirmation, including any FOIA exemption(s) applied, and shall include 
the FOIA provisions for court review of the decision. If the adverse 
determination is reversed or modified on appeal, the request shall be 
reprocessed in accordance with that appeal decision.
    (c) When appeal is required. If a review by a court of any adverse 
determination is desired, the determination must first be appealed 
under this section.
    (d) Denial of appeal. An adverse determination by the Executive 
Director shall be the final action of the Board.
    (e) Unacceptable appeals. An appeal will not be acted on if the 
request becomes a matter of FOIA litigation.


Sec.  201.15  Preservation of records.

    The Board shall preserve all correspondence pertaining to the 
requests that it receives under this subpart, as well as copies of all 
requested records, until disposition or destruction is authorized by 
title 44 of the United States Code of the National Archives and Records 
Administration's General Records Schedule 14. Records will not be 
disposed of while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, or 
lawsuit.


Sec.  201.16  Other rights and services.

    Nothing in this part shall be construed to entitle any person, as a 
right, to any service or to the disclosure of any record to which such 
person is entitled under the FOIA.


Sec.  201.17  How to track a FOIA request.

    (a) Tracking number. The Board will issue a tracking number to all 
FOIA requesters within 5 days of the receipt of the request (as 
described in Sec.  201.7(b)). The tracking number will be sent via 
electronic mail if the requester has provided an electronic mail 
address. Otherwise, the Board will mail the tracking number to the 
requester's physical address, as provided in the FOIA request.
    (b) Status of request. FOIA requesters may check the status of 
their FOIA request(s) by contacting the FOIA Officer at FOIA@ratb.gov 
or (202) 254-7900.

Ivan J. Flores,
Paralegal Specialist, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.
[FR Doc. E9-18353 Filed 7-31-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6820-GA-P