Title 1

SECTION 426.204

426.204 Responsibility for responding to requests.

§ 426.204 Responsibility for responding to requests.

(a) In general. In determining which records are responsive to a request, an agency ordinarily will include only records in its possession as of the date that it begins its search. If any other date is used, the agency must inform the requester of that date. A record that is excluded from the requirements of the FOIA pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(c), is not considered responsive to a request.

(b) Authority to grant or deny requests. The Chief FOIA Officer or designee is authorized to grant or to deny any requests for records.

(c) Consultation, referral, and coordination. When reviewing records in response to a request, the Commission will determine whether another agency of the Federal Government is better able to determine whether the record is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. As to any such record, the Commission will proceed in one of the following ways:

(1) Consultation. When records originated within the Commission, but contain within them information of interest to another agency or other Federal Government office, the Commission will typically consult with that other entity prior to making a release determination.

(2) Referral. When the Commission believes that a different agency is best able to determine whether to disclose the record, the Commission typically should refer the responsibility for responding to the request regarding that record to that agency. Ordinarily, the agency that originated the record is presumed to be the best agency to make the disclosure determination. Whenever an agency refers any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another agency, it must document the referral, maintain a copy of the record that it refers, and notify the requester of the referral, the name of the agency, and the FOIA agency contact.

(3) Coordination. The standard referral procedure is not appropriate where disclosure of the identity of the agency to which the referral would be made could harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption, such as the exemptions that protect personal privacy or national security interests. In such instances, in order to avoid harm to an interest protected by an applicable exemption, the agency that received the request should coordinate with the originating agency to seek its views on the disclosability of the record. The release determination for the record that is the subject of the coordination should then be conveyed to the requester by the agency that originally received the request.

(d) Timing of response to consultations and referrals. All consultations and referrals received by the Commission will be handled according to the date that the first agency received the perfected FOIA request.