Making a FOIA Request
Please also see Tips for FOIA Requesters.
§ 271.5--Records Available to the Public on Request
(a) Types of records made available. All records of the Committee that are not available under §§ 271.3 and 271.4 shall be made available upon request, pursuant to the procedures in this section and the exceptions in § 271.7.
(b) Procedures for requesting records.
(1) A request for identifiable records shall reasonably describe the records in a way that enables the Committee's staff to identify and produce the records with reasonable effort and without unduly burdening or significantly interfering with any of the Committee's operations. Information that assists staff in identifying responsive records includes the subject matter and date or time frame of the information requested.
(2) The request shall be submitted in writing to the secretary of the Committee, Federal Open Market Committee, 20th & C Streets N.W., Washington, D.C. 20551; or sent by facsimile to the Secretary of the Committee, (202) 452–2921; or sent electronically using the online request form located at www.federalreserve.gov/forms/FOMCForm.aspx. The request shall be clearly marked FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST.
(c) Contents of request. The request shall contain the following information:
(1) the name and address of the requester, and the telephone number at which the requester can be reached during normal business hours;
(2) whether the requested information is intended for commercial use, and whether the requester represents an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, or news media;
(3) a statement agreeing to pay the applicable fees, or a statement identifying any fee limitation desired, or a request for a waiver or reduction of fees that satisfies § 271.9(f).
(d) Defective requests. The Committee need not accept or process a request that does not reasonably describe the records requested or that does not otherwise comply with the requirements of this section. The Committee may return a defective request, specifying the deficiency. The requester may submit a corrected request, which will be treated as a new request.
§ 271.6--Processing Requests
(a) Receipt of requests. The date of receipt for any request, including one that is addressed incorrectly or that is referred to the Committee by another agency or by a Federal Reserve Bank, is the date the secretary of the Committee actually receives the request.
(b) Priority of responses. The Committee shall normally process requests in the order they are received. However, in the secretary's discretion, or upon a court order in a matter to which the Committee is a party, a particular request may be processed out of turn.
(c) Expedited processing. Where a person requesting expedited access to records has demonstrated a compelling need for the re-cords, or where the Committee has determined to expedite the response, the Committee shall process the request as soon as practicable.
(1) To demonstrate a compelling need for expedited processing, the requester shall provide a certified statement, a sample of which may be obtained from the Board's Freedom of Information Office. The statement, certified to be true and correct to the best of the requester's knowledge and belief, shall demonstrate that:
(i) the failure to obtain the 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) the requester is a representative of the news media, as defined in § 271.2, and there is urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Committee activity.
(2) In response to a request for expedited processing, the secretary of the Committee shall notify a requester of the determination within 10 working days of receipt of the request. In exceptional situations, the secretary of the Committee has the discretion to waive the formality of certification. If the secretary of the Committee denies a request for expedited processing, the requester may file an appeal pursuant to the procedures set forth in paragraph (h) of this §, and the Committee shall respond to the appeal within 10 working days after the appeal was received by the Committee.
(d) Time limits. The time for response to requests shall be 20 working days, except;
(1) in the case of expedited treatment under paragraph (c) of this §;
(2) where the running of such time is suspended for payment of fees pursuant to § 271.9(b)(2);
(3) in unusual circumstances, as defined in 5 USC 552(a)(6)(B), the Committee may:
(i) Extend the 20-day time limit for a period of time not to exceed 10 working days, where the Committee has provided written notice to the requester, setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched; and
(ii) Extend the 20-day time limit for a period of more than 10 working days where the Committee has provided the requester with an opportunity to limit the scope of the request so that it may be processed within that time frame or with an opportunity to arrange an alternative time frame for processing the original request or a modified request, and has notified the requester that the Committee’s FOIA Public Liaison is available to assist the requester for this purpose and in the resolution of any disputes between the requester and the Committee and of the requester’s right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.
(e) Response to request. In response to a request that satisfies § 271.5, an appropriate search shall be conducted of records of the Committee in existence on the date of receipt of the request, and a review made of any responsive information located. The secretary shall notify the requester of:
(1) the Committee's determination of the request;
(2) the reasons for the determination;
(3) the amount of information withheld;
(4) The right of the requester to seek assistance from the Committee’s FOIA Public Liaison; and
(5) When an adverse determination is made (including determinations that the requested record is exempt, in whole or in part; the request does not reasonably describe the records sought; the information requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; the requested record does not exist, cannot be located, or has been de-stroyed; the requested record is not readi-ly reproducible in the form or format sought by the requester; to deny a fee waiver request or other fee categorization matter; and to deny a request for expedited processing), the secretary will advise the requester in writing of that determina-tion and will further advise the requester of:
(i) The right to appeal to the Committee any adverse determination, as specified in paragraph (h) of this section;
(ii) The right to seek dispute resolution services from the Committee’s FOIA Public Liaison or from the Office of Government Information Services; and
(iii) The name and title or position of the person responsible for the adverse determination.
(f) Referral to another agency. To the extent a request covers documents that were created by, obtained from, or classified by another agency, the Committee may refer the request to that agency for a response and inform the requester promptly of the referral.
(g) Providing responsive records.
(1) Copies of requested records shall be sent to the requester by regular U.S. mail to the address indicated in the request or sent in electronic format to the e-mail address indicated in the request, unless the requester elects to take delivery of the documents at the Board's Freedom of Information Office or makes other acceptable arrangements, or the Committee deems it appropriate to send the documents by another means.
(2) The Committee shall provide a copy of the record in any form or format requested if the record is readily reproducible by the Committee in that form or format, but the Committee need not provide more than one copy of any record to a requester.
(h) Appeal of an adverse determination. A requester may appeal an adverse determination by filing a written appeal with the Committee, as follows:
(1) The appeal shall prominently display the phrase FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT APPEAL on the first page, and shall be addressed to the Secretary of the Committee, Federal Open Market Committee, 20th and C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20551; or sent by facsimile to the secretary of the Committee, (202) 452-2921; or sent by e-mail to the secretary of the Committee at FOMC-FOIA-Mailbox@frb.gov.
(2) An initial request for records may not be combined in the same letter with an appeal.
(3) The Committee, or such member of the Committee as is delegated the authority, shall make a determination regarding any appeal within 20 working days of actual receipt of the appeal by the secretary. If an adverse determination is upheld on appeal, in whole or in part, the determination letter shall notify the appealing party of the right to seek judicial review and of the availability of dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation.