Title 1 Part 426 → Subpart B → §426.205

Title 1 → Chapter IV → Part 426 → Subpart B → §426.205

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 1 Part 426 → Subpart B → §426.205

e-CFR data is current as of May 28, 2020

Title 1Chapter IVPart 426Subpart B → §426.205

Title 1: General Provisions
Subpart B—Disclosure of Records and Information Under the Freedom of Information Act

§426.205   Timing of responses to requests.

(a) In general. The Commission ordinarily will respond to requests according to their order of receipt. The following timing and steps are the normal process:

(1) Acknowledgment. The Commission will provide an acknowledgment notice with an individualized tracking number, the date of receipt of the request, a confirmation of a waiver or reduction of fees (if requested), and a summary of the records requested to each requester within 10 working days after receiving a request that has all of the requisite information.

(2) Response time. Ordinarily, the Commission shall have 20 work days from when a request is received to determine whether to grant or deny a request for records. The 20-day time period shall not be tolled by the Commission except that the Commission may:

(i) Make one reasonable demand to the requester for clarifying information about the request and toll the 20-day time period while awaiting the clarifying information; or

(ii) Notify the requester of the fee assessment for the request and toll the 20-day time period while awaiting the requester's response.

(3) Appeal. The Commission will make a decision with respect to an appeal of a full or partial denial of a request for records within 20 work days after receipt of the appeal.

(b) Multi-Track processing. The Commission uses a multi-track system to process FOIA requests, so that a FOIA request is processed based on its complexity. Each request will be assigned to the Standard, Complex, or Expedited track.

(1) Standard Track. Requests that are routine and require little search time, review, or analysis are assigned to the Standard Track. The Commission will respond to these requests in the order in which they are received and make every effort to respond no later than 20 working days after receipt of the request.

(2) Complex Track. Requests that are non-routine are assigned to the Complex Track if the response may be voluminous; requires an unusually high level of effort for search, review, or duplication; or causes an undue disruption to the day-to-day activities of the Commission in carrying out its statutory responsibilities. The requester will be notified if the request is assigned to the Complex Track and will be given an estimate of the time for response. The Commission will respond to Complex Track requests as soon as practicable, and may discuss with the requester the possibility of reformulating the request to reduce processing time.

(3) Expedited Track. Requests for expedited processing that meet the standards set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, will be assigned to the Expedited track. In such cases, the process described in paragraph (c) will be followed.

(c) Expedited processing. A request for expedited processing must accompany the initial request for records, and the request should be clearly marked “Expedited Processing Requested.” It must be a certified, written statement of compelling need for expedited processing, stating that the facts are true and correct. The Commission shall decide whether to grant the request within 10 calendar days of its receipt, and shall notify the requester in writing. If the Commission grants this request, then the Commission will give the expedited request priority over non-expedited requests and shall process it as soon as practicable. Denials of expedited processing requests can be appealed using the same procedures as denials of other FOIA requests. In determining whether processing should be expedited, the Chief FOIA Officer may consider whether:

(1) Failure to obtain the requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to a person's life or physical safety;

(2) With respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, there is an urgency to inform the public about actual or alleged Federal Government activity; or

(3) A reasonable expectation of an imminent loss of a substantial due process right.

(d) Unusual circumstances. If the Commission determines that “unusual circumstances” exist, as that term is defined in the FOIA, the time limits for responding to requests and appeals may be extended by no more than 10 work days by providing written notice of the extension to the requester. The requester will be given an opportunity to limit the scope of the request or to arrange with the Commission an alternative time frame for processing the request. A FOIA Officer shall include with the notice of extension a brief statement of the reason for the extension, the date the FOIA Officer expects to make a determination, and the availability of the FOIA Public Liaison to assist the requester, and the requester's right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) of the National Archives and Records Administration.