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(3) Charging interest. Interest may be charged to those requesters who fail to pay fees charged in a timely fashion. Assessment of such interest will Commence on the 31st day following the day on which the billing was sent. Interest will be charged at the rate Specified in Section 3717 of title 31 U.S.C. and will accrue from the date of the billing. The Department reserves the right to utilize Consumer reporting agencies, and Collection agencies, when appropriate, to encourage repayment, as authorized by the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97–365).
(c) Waiver or reduction of fees. (1) DOCuments shall be furnished without charge, or at reduced charges if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to COntribute significantly to public understanding Of the Operations Or activities of the government, and is not primarily in the Commercial interest of the requester. To assure that the two basic requirements for waiver are met, Commerce shall rely on the following factors in making a determination. On the fee waiver request:
(i) The subject of the request (whether the Subject of the requested records concerns the Operations or activities of the government);
(ii) The informative value of the information to be disclosed (whether the disclosure is likely to Contribute to an understanding of government Operations Or activities):
(iii) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public likely to result from disclosure (whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to public understanding);
(iv) The Significance Of the Contribution to public understanding (whether the disclosure is likely to Contribute significantly to public understanding Of government Operations or activities);
(v) The existence and magnitude of a Commercial interest (whether the reQuester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure); (vi) The primary interest in discloSure (whether the magnitude of the identified Commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the reQuester). (2) Additionally, a fee shall not be charged, or alternatively it may be reduced, in the following instances: (i) Requests for Department records made by a Federal agency, Federal Court (excluding parties), CongresSional Committee or Subcommittee, the General Accounting Office, or the Library Of Congress, are not made under the Act, and fees payable under this part do not apply. (ii) The records are requested by a State or local government, an intergovernmental agency, a foreign government, a public international Organization, Or an agency thereof, and when it is determined by a responsible Department Official that it is an appropriate Courtesy, Or the records are for purposes that are in the public interest and will promote the Objectives of the Act and of the Department. (iii) A fee shall not be charged if the allowable charges are less than or equal to the cost of routine Collection and processing of the fee. Therefore, if the total of charges due for processing a request is $20 or less, no fee will be charged. (d) Payment of fees. The following Conditions shall apply to payment of fees Charged under this part. (1) A Search fee provided in paragraph (b) Of this Section is chargeable even when no records responsive to the request are found, or when the records requested are determined by the responsible Department Official to be totally exempt from disclosure. If the estimated search or duplication charges exceed $25 the requester shall be notified of the estimated amount Of Search or duplication fees, unless the requester has previously advised the Department of a willingness to pay an
amount sufficient to COver the estimated fee. Such notice shall offer the requester the Opportunity to confer with Department personnel with the object of reformulating the request in order to reduce the cost. (2) A requester may be required to make an advance payment (i.e., payment before work is commenced Or continued on a request) if the estimated or determined allowable charges that a requester may be required to pay will exceed $250 or the requester has previously failed to pay a fee charged in a timely manner (i.e., within 30 days of the date of the billing). (i) When the estimated Charges exceed $250, the Department shall notify the requester of the likely cost and Obtain satisfactory assurance of full payment where the requester has a history of prompt payment of FOIA fees. If the requester has no history of prompt payment of FOIA fees, the Department shall require an advance payment of an amount up to the full estimated charges. (ii) If a requester has previously failed to pay a fee charged in a timely manner, the Department Shall require the requester to pay the full amount owed plus any applicable interest and to make an advance payment of the full amount Of the estimated fee before the Department will process the reQuest. (3) Whenever the Department acts pursuant to paragraph (d)(2) of this Section, the administrative time limits prescribed in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6) will begin only after the agency has received payment of the required fee. (4) Upon the completion of processing of a request, when a Specific fee is determined to be payable and appropriate notice has been given to the requester, the payment of such fee shall be received before the requested records Or a portion of the records are made available to the requester. (5) Payment of fees shall be made in cash or preferably by check or money order payable to “Treasury of the |United States”, and they shall be paid or sent to the unit stated in the billing notice or, if none, to the unit handling the request. Where appropriate, the responsible official may require that pay
ment be made in the form of a certified Check. (6) If an advance payment of an estimated fee exceeds the actual total fee by $1 or more, the difference shall be refunded to the requester. (7) When the responsible official reasonably believes that a requester or group of requesters acting in concert is attempting to break a request into a series of requests for the purpose of evading the assessment of fees, the unit may aggregate any such requests and charge accordingly. (e) Other charges. (1) This part does not apply to any Special Statistical compilation, Study, or other record requested pursuant to Statutes Specifically providing for setting the level of fees for particular types of records such as 15 U.S.C. 1525–1527. The fee for the performance of Such service is the actual cost of the work involved in compiling the record. All monies received by the Department in payment of the cost of this work are deposited in a separate account administered under the direction of the Secretary, and may be used to defray the Ordinary expenses incidental to the work. (2) The full cost of other special services will be assessed. Such services would include: (i) Certifying that records are true copies; and (ii) Sending records by Special methods such as express mail, etc.
(53 FR 6972, Mar. 4, 1988; 53 FR 16058, 16211, May 5, 1988]
APPENDIX A TO PART 4–DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 205–12— PUBLIC INFORMATION
SECTION 1. Purpose—.01 This order, and the rules and other materials which inplement it, are designed to Carry out the responsibilities of the Department of Commerce under the Freedom of Information Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552), hereinafter referred to as “the Act.”
02. This revision updates and Clarifies the provisions of the order (dated June 29, 1967) which it Supersedes, in light of the amendment.S to the Act, which become effective February 19, 1975. Section 7, “Compulsory Process Requesting Documents or Testimony” Contained in the Superseded order, is now found in Department Administrative Order 218–5, to be published separately in the FEDERAL REGISTER.
SEC. 2 Authorities—This order is issued purSuant to the Act: 5 U.S.C. 553; 5 U.S.C. 301; Reorganization Plan No. 5 of 1950; and other authority vested by law in the Secretary applicable to the dissemination of records and other information of the Department and charges for services related thereto.
SEC. 3. Policies—.01 The Department of Commerce, in fulfilling itS Statutory misSions to foster, promote and develop the foreign and domestic commerce of the United States and to administer the Specific programs entrusted to it, regularly develops, collects, analyzes, and disseminates facts, statistics, consensus, Charts, Scientific findings, technology, and other information, and performs other services, in order to assist the business community and Other Segments of the public, according to their needs and interest. This information which the Department develops, collates, and disseminates is generally made readily available, either without charge or by purchase, to the affected persons and to anyone else who may be interested, through publications, reprints of regulations (by subscription or otherwise), press releases, Special reports, Correspondence and personal interviews or Conferences with Staff, Speeches, and Other media. It is the policy of the Department to Continue its regular practices of disseminating information to the public prepared as a part of its program responsibilities, to the fullest extent legally permissible and economically feasible, and to continue to handle public requests for such information (which may include records) in the usual manner through its regular facilities and channels, as distinguished from those request.S for records Subject to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3) which are to be made and handled in accord with the rules established in and pursuant to SubSections 5.03 and 5.04 of this Order.
In carrying out this policy, the officials designated in SubSection 4.01 of this Order Shall: (a) Establish and continue an effective program of Communicating to the public the useful information obtained or developed in the fulfillment of their organizational misSions; (b) publicize the availability of Such informational materials in their rules or by other practical means So that the public shall utilize the regular informational programs of the Department, rather than reSorting to the formal procedures for requesting records established pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3); and (c) insure that any Such information which is given to individuals or SpeCial groupS Shall also be made available to the general public in accord with Subsections 5.01 and 5.02 of this order, when and to the extent. Such information is Subject to publication or inspection under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1), (2), or (5). .02 Officials responsible for determining, in accord with the Act and this order:
(a) What materials are to be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER; (b) What and how materials are to be made available for public inspection and copying, including indexing; and (c) What and how records which are requested are to be made available; shall, where discretion exists in making such determinations, take an affirmative and conStructive view of the requirements of the Act. Accordingly, in making rules and specific determinations, they shall among other factors: (1) Provide Such information to the affected public as well as enable it to deal effectively and knowledgeably with their organizations; (2) keep within the limits of demonstrable need the use of the legal authorities which permit the withholding of information and records; (3) apply principles of equal treatment to requests for records; (4) Consider disclosure to be the rule rather than the exception; (5) consider the public convenience as well as the efficient Conduct of their Organizations’ business; (6) act in a timely manner; and (7) be guided by materials prepared by the Department of Justice and the Office of General Counsel of the Department, and by applicable Court decisions.
SEC. 4. Delegation of authority—.01 The Secretary of Commerce is responsible for the effective administration of the Act, and Other laws applicable to the dissemination of records and other information of the Department. Aside from the Secretary’s retaining authority for his immediate Office, or as he otherwise may act, authority is hereby delegated to the following officials of the Department to decide initially whether or not to make publicly available records and other information Subject to the Act, which are in the possession of their Organizations, in a Ccord with the provisions of the Act, this order and rules Supplementing it, Other applicable law, and as may be otherwise provided by the Secretary:
a. Secretarial Officers, for their respective Offices and for the Department Staff units reporting to them (as defined in Department Organization Order 1–1, “Mission and Organization of the Department of Commerce” (35 FR 19704, December 27, 1970)), aS amended.
b. Heads of operating units of the Department (as defined in Department Organization Order 1–1).
.02 Although the officials having authority under SubSection 4.01 of this Section may permit employees within their Organizations to make records and information publicly available under the Act, they shall redelegate authority initially to deny Such records and information only to a limited number of officers or employees under them without power of further redelegation.
.03 The authority to make final decisions on appeal of initially denied requests for records is hereby delegated to the General Counsel of the Department without power of further redelegation.
.04 The General Counsel of the Department, and his designees, Shall provide legal services to enable the Officials designated in Subsections 4.01 and 4.02 of this section to discharge their respective duties and responSibilities under and pursuant to this order, and Shall make legal interpretations of questions arising thereunder. The General CounSel Shall also act as the focal point within the Department for consultation or other Communication with the Department of Justice with respect to any actions to be taken in COnnection with the Act, this order, and rules inplementing it. .05 Program officials shall provide all support and a SSistance necessary to enable the General Counsel to perform the functions delegated in this order. This shall include (1) keeping the Office of the General Counsel informed of Freedom of Information Act requests received by the unit; (ii) providing prompt responses to Office Of the General Counsel instructions, or requests for assistance; (iii) as requested, allowing the Office of the General Counsel access to relevant records; and (iv) promptly consulting with the Office of the General Counsel regarding any legal issues which arise during the processing of a request. b. The Office of the Inspector General shall comply with the provisions of this order except that the Office of the Inspector General need not allow the Office of the General Counsel access to records to the extent that (i) information Contained therein might reveal the identity of a confidential source, or (ii) the Inspector General determines that disclosure to Office of the General Counsel would interfere with an audit, investigation, Or proSecution. SEC. 5. Functions and responsibilities—.01 Publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1) of the Act). a. The following information of the Department and its component Organizations shall be separately Stated and Currently published in the FEDERAL REGISTER for the guidance of the public. 1. DeSCriptions Of the Central and field Organizations and the established places at which, the employees (and in the case of a uniformed Service, the members) from whom, and the methods whereby, the public may seCure information, make Submittals or request, or obtain decisions; 2. Statements of the general course and method by which functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures available; 3. Rules of procedure, descriptions of forms available or the places at which forms may be obtained, and instructions as to the SCOpe and Contents of all papers, reportS, or examinationS; 4. Substantive rules of general applicability adopted as authorized by law, and State
ments of general policy or interpretations of general applicability formulated and adopted by their agencies; and 5. Each amendment, revision, or repeal of the foregoing. b. The information contained in paragraph 5.01a of this subsection shall be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER in the form of or inCluded in: 1. Department Organization Orders, including any Supplements and appendices thereto. The Assistant Secretary for Administration Shall Cause Such materials to be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER. The Department Organization Orders and their supplements and appendices Contain, anong other information, the descriptions of the various organiZations, the descriptions of the various organizations of the Department, and in many inStances the other information indicated in Subparagraphs 5.01a.1 and 2. of this subSection. 2. Department Administrative Orders, including any supplements or appendices thereto. 3. Other Office of the Secretary or operating unit directives. 4. Rules and orders contained in the various Titles of the Code of Federal Regulations assigned to the Office of the Secretary and to the Operating units of the DepartInent. 5. General notices. 6. Other forms of publications when incorporated by reference in the Federal Register with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register. c. Officials responsible for determining what materials are to be submitted for publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1) Shall consider, anong other factors, in making such determinations: 1. That those matters which fall within one Or more of the exemptions contained in 5 U.S.C. 552(b) need not be published. However, it may be decided, in accord with Subsection 3.02 of this order, that publication even of Such matters Should in some instances and respects be made. 2. That matters which are reasonably available to the class of persons affected thereby and which have been Or are to be incorporated by reference in the FEDERAL REGISTER with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register are deemed to be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER. In Such Cases, the Standards and procedures for inCorporation by reference established by the Director of the Federal Register (See 1 CFR Part 51; 37 FR 23614, November 4, 1972) shall be followed. 3. That matters to which members of the public do not have to resort or by which they are not to be adversely affected, or which do not impose burdens, obligations, conditions, or limitations upon persons affected, need not be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER
under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1). However, the policy considerations expressed in subsection 3.02 of this order may in Certain instanceS Suggest the publication of Such matters. 4. That no perSon Shall in any manner be required to resort to or be adversely affected by any matter required to be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1) when it is not so published. However, actual and timely notice given to Such a person having Such actual notice is equally bound as one having Constructive notice by FEDERAL REGISTER publication. Nevertheless, such actual notice Should as a matter of policy be in addition to, rather than instead of, publication. 5. That “currently publish” as provided in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1) means promptly at the time that the action Occurs. .02 Availability of materialS for inspection and copying; indexing (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2) and (5) Of the Act). a. The head of each operating unit of the Department Shall for his unit, and the ASSistant Secretary for Administration Shall for the Officials, officers and units referred to in paragraph 4.01a. Of this Order, in a CCordance with rules which they shall Cause to be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER, make available for public inspection and copying the following materials, unless Such materials are promptly published and Copies offered for Sale: 1. Final opinion (including concurring and dissenting opinions), as well as Orders, made in the adjudication of Cases. 2.. Those Statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted by the agency and are not published in the FEDERAL REGISTER. 3. Administrative Staff manuals and inStructions to Staff that affect a member of the public. 4. Where applicable, a record of the final votes of each member of an agency in every proceeding when the agency has more than One number. (The terms “agency proceeding” and “agency” are defined in 5 U.S.C. 551, as amended by 5 U.S.C. 552(e). 5. An index, Currently maintained, which provides identifying information for the public as to any matter (a) which has been issued, adopted, or promulgated Since July 4, 1967, and (b) which is required to be made available or published pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2). It is hereby determined, Subject to Subsequent redetermination by the Assistant Secretary for Administration pursuant to Changed Circumstances, that it is unnecesSary and impracticable to publish quarterly or more frequently and distribute (by Sale or Otherwise) copies of each such index and Supplements thereto. Copies of such indexes Shall be provided upon request at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication. b. The rules published in the FEDERAL REGISTER under paragraph 5.02a of this Sub
Section Shall include provisions for the time, place, copying fees, and any procedures applicable to making such materials available at facilities or otherwise for public inspection and Copying. C. The Assistant Secretary for Administration Shall establish and maintain a centralized public reference facility for the inspection and Copying of materials subject to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2) and (5). The head of an operating unit may, with the approval of the ASSistant Secretary for Administration, establish for this Organization a separate place for making the materials Subject to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2) and (5) available to the public for inSpection and copying, and publish appropriate rules applicable thereto approved by the ASSistant Secretary for Administration. d. The officials responsible for determining the materials to be available for public inSpection and copying under paragraph 5.02a. of this Subsection shall consider, anong Other factors, in promulgating the published rules or in making such determinations: 1. That those matters which fall within one or more of the exemptions contained in 5 U.S.C 552(b) are not required to be made available. Nonetheless, they may be made available in any particular respect if it is determined that this would better Serve the public interest. 2. That they may, to the extent required to prevent a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, delete identifying details from an Opinion, Statement of policy, interpretation, Staff manual Or instruction, or Other materials, when it is made available or published. However, in each case the justification for the deletion Shall be explained fully in writing. Such action is to be taken in order to provide the public with those information materials called for under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), while at the Same time protecting the medical, family or other personal privacy rights of the individuals involved in Such agency materials. Agency explanations for deletions of identifying details should provide Such information as can be furnished without defeating the purpose of the deletion provision. When an agency has a number of recurring deletion situations, it may in its implementing rules or other public notice Specify the applicable reasons for Such deletions, and Cite the rule in the preamble to each of the COvered documentS, rather than contain the complete explanation in each document. 3. That distinction should be made between those materials (a) which do and which do not affect any member of the public, and (b) which are and which are not to be relied upon, used or cited as precedent by the agency against any private perSOn Or party. Those materials Specified in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2) which affect the public and which have precedential effect shall be made available for inspection and copying, and also included in