Title 6: Domestic Security
CHAPTER X: PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD
PART 1000: DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS AND INFORMATION
: Freedom of Information Act
1000.10 - Charges for search, review, and reproduction.
(a) The Board will charge fees that recoup the full allowable direct costs it incurs. This may also include costs incurred by another organization to search for, review, and produce potentially responsive records. Moreover, it shall use the most efficient and least costly methods to comply with requests for records made under FOIA.
(b) With regard to manual searches for records, the Board will charge at the salary rate(s) (i.e., basic pay plus 16 percent) of the employee(s) making the search.
(c) In calculating charges for computer searches for records, the Board will charge at the actual direct cost of providing the service. This will include the cost of operating the central processing unit for that portion of operating time that is directly attributable to searching for records potentially responsive to a FOIA request and the portion of the salary of the operators/programmers attributable to the search.
(d) Only requestors who are seeking documents for commercial use may be charged for time spent reviewing records to determine whether they are exempt from mandatory disclosure. Charges may be assessed only for the initial review—that is, the review undertaken the first time the Board analyzes the applicability of a specific exemption to a particular record or portion of a record. Records or portions of records withheld in full under an exemption that is subsequently determined not to apply may be reviewed again to determine the applicability of other exemptions not previously considered. The Board may assess the costs for such a subsequent review.
(e) Records will be duplicated at a rate of $.15 per page, except that the Board may adjust that rate from time to time by notice published in the Federal Register. For copies prepared by computer, such as tapes or printouts, the Board shall charge the actual cost, including operator time, of production of the tape or printout. For other methods of reproduction or duplication, the Board will charge the actual direct costs of producing the document(s). If the Board estimates that duplication charges are likely to exceed $25, it shall notify the requestor of the estimated amount of fees, unless the requestor has indicated in advance his willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. Such a notice shall offer a requestor the opportunity to confer with PCLOB personnel with the object of reformulating the request to meet his or her needs at a lower cost.
(f) Remittances shall be in the form either of a personal check or bank draft drawn on a bank in the United States, or a postal money order. Remittances shall be made payable to the order of the Treasury of the United States and mailed to the FOIA Officer, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, The White House, Washington, DC 20502.
(g) A receipt for fees paid will be given upon request. Refund of fees paid for services actually rendered will not be made.
(h) With the exception of requestors seeking documents for a Commercial Use, the Board will provide the first 100 pages of duplication and the first two hours of search time without charge.
(1) For purposes of these restrictions on assessment of fees, the word “pages” refers to 81/2″ x 11″ or 11″ x 14″ paper copies. Thus, requestors are not entitled to 100 microfiche or 100 computer disks, for example. By contrast, a microfiche containing the equivalent of 100 pages or 100 pages of computer printout does meet the terms of the restriction.
(2) Similarly, the term “Search time” in this context applies to a manual search. To apply this term to searches made by computer, the Board will determine the hourly cost of operating the central processing unit and the operator's hourly salary plus 16 percent. When the cost of search (including the operator time and the cost of operating the computer to process a request) equals the equivalent dollar amount of two hours of the salary of the person performing the search, the Board will begin assessing charges for computer searches.
(i) The Board divides FOIA requestors into four categories: Commercial use requestors; educational and non-commercial scientific institutions; representatives of the news media; and all other requestors. The specific levels of fees for each of these categories are:
(1) Commercial use requestors. When the Board receives a request for documents for commercial use, it will assess charges that recover the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing for release, and duplicating the record sought. Requestors must reasonably describe the records sought. Commercial use requestors are entitled neither to two hours of free search time nor to 100 free pages of reproduction of documents. The Board may recover the cost of searching for and Reviewing Records even if there is ultimately no disclosure of Records.
(2) Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requestors. The Board shall provide documents to requestors in this category for the cost of reproduction alone, excluding charges for the first 100 pages. To be eligible for inclusion in this category, requestors must show that the request is being made as authorized by and under the auspices of a qualifying institution and that the records are not sought for a commercial use, but are sought in furtherance of scholarly (if the request is from an Educational Institution) or scientific (if the request is from a non-commercial scientific institution) research. Requestors must reasonably describe the records sought.
(3) Requestors who are representatives of the news media. The Board will provide documents to requestors in this category for the cost of reproduction alone, excluding charges for the first 100 pages. To be eligible for inclusion in this category, a requestor must satisfy the definition of representatives of the news media in § 1000.1, and his or her request must not be made for a commercial use. In reference to this class of requestor, a request for Records supporting the news dissemination function of the requestor shall not be considered to be a request that is for a commercial use. Requestors must reasonably describe the Records sought.
(4) All other requestors. The Board shall charge requestors who do not fit into any of the categories above fees that recover the full reasonable Direct Cost of Searching for and reproducing Records that are responsive to the request, except that the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of Search time shall be furnished without charge. Requestors must reasonably describe the Records sought.
(j) The Board may assess interest charges on an unpaid bill starting on the 31st Calendar Day following the day on which the billing was sent. The fact that the fee has been received within the thirty Calendar Day grace period, even if the fee has not been processed, will suffice to stay the accrual of interest. Interest will be at the rate prescribed in section 3717 of title 31 of the United States Code and will accrue from the date of the billing.
(k) The Board may assess charges for time spent searching, even if it fails to locate the Records or if Records located are determined to be exempt from disclosure. If the Board estimates that Search charges are likely to exceed $25, it shall notify the requestor of the estimated amount of fees, unless the requestor has indicated in advance his willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated.
(l) A requestor may not file multiple requests, each seeking portions of a document or documents, solely in order to avoid payment of fees. When the Board reasonably believes that a requestor, or a group of requestors acting in concert, has submitted requests that constitute a single request, involving clearly related matters, it may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly.
(m)(1) The Board may not require a requestor to make payment before work is commenced or continued on a request, unless:
(i) The Board estimates or determines that allowable charges that a requestor may be required to pay are likely to exceed $250; or
(ii) A requestor has previously failed to pay a fee charged in a timely fashion (i.e., within 30 Days of the date of the billing).
(2) When the Board acts under paragraph (m)(1)(i) or (ii) of this section, the administrative time limits prescribed in FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6) will begin only after the Board has received fee payments described in paragraphs (m)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section.
(n) Fees otherwise chargeable in connection with a request for disclosure of a record shall be waived or reduced where it is determined that disclosure 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 requestor.