Title 5

SECTION 2604.301

2604.301 Requests for records.

§ 2604.301 Requests for records.

(a) Addressing requests. Requests for copies of records may be made by mail or email. Requests sent by mail should be addressed to the FOIA Officer, U.S. Office of Government Ethics, 1201 New York Avenue NW., Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005-3917. The envelope containing the request and the letter itself should both clearly indicate that the subject is a Freedom of Information Act request. Email requests should be sent to [email protected] and should indicate in the subject line that the message contains a Freedom of Information Act request.

(b) Description of records. Each request must reasonably describe the desired records in sufficient detail to enable OGE personnel to locate the records with a reasonable amount of effort. A request for a specific category of records will be regarded as fulfilling this requirement if it enables responsive records to be identified by a technique or process that is not unreasonably burdensome or disruptive of OGE operations.

(1) Wherever possible, a request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter of the record.

(2) If the FOIA Officer determines that a request does not reasonably describe the records sought, the FOIA Officer will either advise the requester what additional information is needed to locate the record, or otherwise state why the request is insufficient. The FOIA Officer will also extend to the requester an opportunity to confer with OGE personnel with the objective of reformulating the request in a manner which will meet the requirements of this section.

(c) Agreement to pay fees. The filing of a request under this subpart will be deemed to constitute an agreement by the requester to pay all applicable fees charged under subpart E of this part, up to $25.00, unless a waiver of fees is sought. The request may also specify a limit on the amount the requester is willing to spend, or may indicate a willingness to pay an amount greater than $25.00, if applicable. In cases where a requester has been notified that actual or estimated fees may amount to more than $25.00, the request will be deemed not to have been received until the requester has agreed to pay the anticipated total fee. If, in the course of negotiating fees, the requester does not respond to correspondence from OGE, OGE will administratively close the FOIA request after 30 calendar days have passed from the date of its last correspondence to the requester.

(d) Requests for records relating to corrective actions. No record developed pursuant to the authority of 5 U.S.C. app. 402(f)(2) concerning the investigation of an employee for a possible violation of any provision relating to a conflict of interest will be made available pursuant to this part unless the request for such information identifies the employee to whom the records relate and the subject matter of any alleged violation to which the records relate. Nothing in this subsection will affect the application of subpart D of this part to any record so identified.

(e) Seeking expedited processing. (1) A requester may seek expedited processing of a FOIA request if a compelling need for the requested records can be shown.

(2) “Compelling need” means:

(i) Circumstances in which failure to obtain copies of the requested records on an expedited basis 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 Federal Government activity, if the request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information.

(3) A requester seeking expedited processing should so indicate in the initial request, and should state all the facts supporting the need to obtain the requested records quickly. The requester must also certify in writing that these facts are true and correct to the best of the requester's knowledge and belief.