Making a FOIA Request
A request for records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) must reasonably describe the records in a way that enables the Board's staff to identify and produce the records with reasonable effort. See Tips for FOIA Requesters. The request must contain the following:
- name and address of the requester and the telephone number at which the requester can be reached during normal business hours
- a statement about whether the requested information is intended for commercial use and whether the requester is an educational or noncommercial scientific institution or news media representative
- a statement agreeing to pay the applicable fees, identifying any desired fee limitation, or requesting a waiver or reduction of fees.
The Board need not accept nor process a request that does not reasonably describe the records requested or that does not otherwise comply with the FOIA regulations.
The request may be submitted in writing to the Freedom of Information Office, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551; sent by facsimile to the Freedom of Information Office, (202) 872-7565; or submitted electronically.
Processing a FOIA Request
The Board provides different levels of processing for categories of requests:
- Requests for records that are readily identifiable by the Freedom of Information Office and that have already been cleared for public release may qualify for fast-track processing.
- All other requests will be handled under normal processing procedures, unless expedited processing has been granted. The Freedom of Information Office will normally process requests in the order that they are received in the separate processing tracks, except when expedited processing is granted. The time for response to requests is 20 working days, except in the following circumstances:
- in the case of expedited treatment
- when the running of such time is suspended for payment of fees
- in unusual circumstances, as defined in 5 USC § 552(a)(6)(B). In such circumstances, the time limit may be extended for a period not to exceed 10 working days as stated in a written notice to the requester setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched; or an alternative period as mutually agreed to by the Freedom of Information Office and the requester when the Freedom of Information Office notifies the requester that the request cannot be processed in the specified time.
When a person requesting expedited access to records has demonstrated a compelling need for the records or when the Board has determined to expedite the response, the Board will process the request as soon as practicable.
- To demonstrate a compelling need for expedited processing, the requester must provide a certified statement, a sample of which may be obtained from the Freedom of Information Office. The statement, which must be certified to be true and correct to the best of the requester's knowledge and belief, must demonstrate one of the following circumstances:
- 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
- the requester is a person primarily engaged in disseminating information and there is urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Board activity.
- In response to a request for expedited processing, the Board will notify a requester of the determination within 10 calendar days of receipt of the request. If the Board denies a request for expedited processing, the requester may file an appeal.
Segregation of nonexempt information
The Board will provide any reasonably segregable portion of a record that is requested after deleting the portions that are exempt.