The FOIA provides access to federal agency records (or parts of those records) except those protected from release by nine specific exemptions.
1. Classified national defense and foreign relations information
2. Internal agency personnel rules and practices
3. Material prohibited from disclosure by another law
4. Trade secrets and other confidential business information
5. Certain inter-agency or intra-agency communications
6. Personnel, medical, and other files involving personal privacy
7. Certain records compiled for law enforcement purposes
8. Matters relating to the supervision of financial institutions
9. Geological and geophysical information and data (including maps) concerning wells
Explantion of Exemptions
The fees specified in this section shall be charged for searching for, reviewing, and/or duplicating agency records made available in response to a request as follows:
1. Copies. For copies of documents such as letters, memoranda, statements, reports, contracts, etc., $0.15 per copy of each page. These charges for copies include the time spent in duplicating the documents. For copies of still photographs, blueprints, videotapes, engineering drawings, hard copies of aperture cards, etc., the fee charged will reflect the full direct cost to this base of reproducing or copying the record. For copies of Computer printouts, $0.02 per copy.
2. Clerical searches. For each one quarter hour spent by clerical personnel in searching for an Agency record in response to a request under this part, $3.00.
3. Nonroutine, nonclerical searches. Where a search cannot be performed by clerical personnel, for example, where the task of determining which records fall within a request and collecting them requires the time of professional or managerial personnel, and where the amount of time that must be expended in the search and collection of the requested records by such higher level personnel is substantial, charges for the search may be made at a rate in excess of the clerical rate, namely for each one quarter hour spent by such higher level personnel in searching for a requested record, $6.25.
4. Review/Excising of records. For commercial use requests only, where time is spent reviewing to determine whether they are exempt from mandatory disclosure, a charge may be made at the rate of $3.00, for each one quarter hour spent by clerical personnel (E-9/GS-8 and below), or a charge may be made at the rate of $6.25 per one quarter hour per professional personnel (0-1 - 0-6/GS-9 - GS-15), or a charge may be made at the rate of $11.25 per one quarter hour per Executive personnel (0-7 - GS-16/ES 1 and above). No charge shall be made for the time spent in resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions. This charge will only be assessed the first time the agency reviews a record and not at the administrative appeal level.
5. Computerized Search. Computer search time for fees to be collected for records stored in a central processing unit will be based on $5.02 per minute. Additionally, the time spent by the Programmer/Operator to write and inputting the DESIRE into the computer will be computed at the rates specified in paragraphs (b),(c), and (d) of this section.
6. Charges for special services. Complying with requests for special services such as those listed in (g)(1), (2), and (3) of this section is entirely at the discretion of the Ellsworth FOIA Office. Neither the FOIA nor its fee structure covers these kinds of services. To the extent that the Ellsworth FOIA Office elects to provide the following services, it will levy a charge equivalent to the full cost of the service provided: (1) Certifying that records are true copies. (2) Sending records by special methods such as express mail. (h) Unsuccessful or unproductive searches. Search charges, as set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, may be made even when an Agency record which has been requested cannot be identified or located after a diligent search and consultation with a professional employee familiar with the subject area of the request, or if located, cannot be made available under Subpart 3 of this part. Ordinarily, however, fees will not be charged in such instances unless they are substantial (over $15.00) and the requester has consented to the search after having been advised that it cannot be determined in advance whether any records exist which can be made available and that search fees will be charged even if no record can be located and made available.
7. Fees not chargeable.
-- We will not charge for the first 100 pages of duplication and the first 2 hours of search time (meaning manual search) except to requesters seeking documents for commercial use.
-- If the cost to be billed to the requester is equal to or less than $15.00, no charges will be billed.