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PUBLIC INFORMATION

Number: DAO 205-12
Effective Date: 1975-02-19

SECTION 1. PURPOSE.

.01 This order, and the rules and other materials which implement 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 amendments 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 Section 7, "Compulsory Process Requesting Documents or Testimony," contained in the superseded order, is now found in Department Administrative Order 218-5, to be published separately in the FEDERAL REGISTER.

SECTION 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.

SECTION 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, censuses, 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 interests. 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 requests 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 will 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.

SECTION 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 whether or not to make publicly available records and other information subject to the Act which are in the possession of their organizations, in accord 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 F.R. 19704, December 27, 1970)).

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 delegate or designate or permit employees within their organizations to make records and information publicly available under the Act, they shall redelegate authority to deny such records and information only to a limited number of officers or employees under them without power of further redelegation. The authority to make final decisions on appeal of initially denied requests for records, shall not be redelegated by the officials designated in subsection 4.01 of this order.

.03 The General Counsel of the Department, and his designee, 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 implementing it.

SECTION 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 requests, or obtain decisions;

2. Statements of the general course and methods by which functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures available;

3. Rules and 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 statements 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, among other information, 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 Department.

5. General notices.

6. Other forms of publication when incorporated by reference in the FEDERAL REGISTER with the approval of the Director of 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. 522 (a) (1) shall consider, among 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 instance 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 F.R. 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 cures any defect of non-publication as to such person, since 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 published" as provided in 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (1) means promptly at the time 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, offices and units referred to in paragraph 4.01a. Of this order, in accordance 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 opinions (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 agency proceeding when the agency has more than one member. (The terms "agency proceedings" 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 subsection 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 his 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, among 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 unwarrented 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 informational 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 or 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 precedent effect shall be made available for inspection and copying, and also included in the index, as provided in this order. However, since the basic purpose of this section of the Act is to disclose to the interested members of the public essential information which will enable them to deal effectively and knowingly with an agency, materials which provide such information should be included in the appropriate facilities.

4. That an advisory interpretation made by an agency on a specific set of facts which is requested by and addressed to a particular person need not be made generally available under paragraph 5.02a. of this subsection if it is not to be cited or relied upon by any official of the agency s a precedent in the disposition of other cases. Nontheless, if it may serve any useful public purpose, any such interpretation may be made publicly available upon the reelection of identifying details to the extent necessary to protect personal privacy.

5. That the agency is not precluded from using as precedent against any affected person those matters specified in subparagraphs 1. - 3. of paragraph 5.02a. of this subsection as to which a person has actual and timely notice of the terms thereof, even though they have not been indexed and either made available or published. If the agency practice is t furnish such notices, it is more desirable that it do so in addition to, rather than instead of, indexing and making them publicly available hereunder, in recognition of the purpose of 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (2) to make the end product materials of the administrative process available to the public.

6. That matters which are published in the FEDERAL REGISTER in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (1) are not required to be made available under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (2) for public inspection and copying, nor need they be indexed (the FEDERAL REGISTER has its own index). However, to the extent that it would be useful and practicable to index and provide such published information to the public for ready reference, it should be included.

7. That an index provides sufficient identifying information for the public if a person who exercises diligence may familiarize himself with the materials through use of the index.

8. That an alternative to making materials available to the public for inspection and copying is to promptly publish and offer them for sale to the public. Such published materials, however, are subject to the indexing requirement. If it would help the public and it is practical to do so, a copy of such published materials should also be made available in any facilities established for public inspection, and if permissible, copies of the publications should be made available for sale therein.

9. That materials required to be made available or published under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (2), but which were adopted or issued by an agency prior to July 4, 1967, may at any time be used, relied upon or cited as precedent by the agency irrespective of whether they are listed in the agency's index. Officials, however, may, to the extent they deem it practicable and helpful to the public, also index such materials in whole or in part.

.03 Availability of records upon request (5 U.S.C. 552(a) (3), (4), and (6) of the Act).

a. The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall cause to be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER rules stating the time, place, fees and procedures to be followed, with respect to making records of the Department promptly available to any person requesting them, as provided in 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (3), (4), and (6).

b. The rules published in the FEDERAL REGISTER pursuant to paragraph 5.03a. Of this subsection shall, insofar, as is practicable, be complete, precise, and workable, suitable for the information of agency personnel and the public alike, and shall include provisions, among other matters, for the following:

1. Information as to the place to make requests, when requests will be deemed received by the Department for purposes of the time limits contained in 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (6), the timely handling of requests, and the making of initial determinations concerning the availability of the records requested.

2. Timely notice to the requester, as applicable, that a requested record does not exist, has been disposed of as provided by law, or is not in the possession or control of the Department.

3. A procedure whereby the time limits for responding to requests for records or appeals from denials may be extended, as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (6) (B), and wherein a failure of the agency to respond in a timely manner may be considered a denial of the request.

4. Consultation with other operating units or offices within the Department, or with other Federal executive agencies, when there is a mutual agency interest or concern in the record or its contents and there is a question as to its availability. The determination as to availability should be made by the predominantly interested agency, if there is one. When a record requested from the Department is the exclusive concern of another executive agency, the request shall be promptly referred to that other agency, and the requester so notified.

5. A procedure for administrative appeal of a request for a record initially denied in whole or in part. The appeal procedure shall include provisions which insure that; (i) the requester may file an appeal, in writing, within thirty days of receipt of an initial denial; (ii) an appeal shall be considered received when properly addressed to the applicable official specified in subsection 4.01 of this order; (iii) appeals shall be decided without right of the requester for a personal appearance, oral argument, or hearing; (iv) timely decisions on appeals or other notices concerning them shall be made in writing, and communicated to the requester; (v) if the decision is wholly or partly in favor of the requester, the official shall make the particular records or information available to the requester or order that such be done; and to the extent that the decision is adverse to the requester, it shall briefly state the reasons for the decision and the identity of the official responsible for making it, (vi) appeals and their determination shall be indexed and made available for inspection and copying as provided in subsection 5.02 of this section; and (vii) whenever applicable, requesters shall be effectively notified of their right to seek judicial review.

6. A schedule of fees as authorized by the Act, with procedures which (i) put requesters of records on timely notice as to substantial search and copying fees estimated to be incurred with respect to a request; (ii) which attempt to insure that requesters pay the chargeable fees for work to be done; (iii) which provide for appropriate waiver or reduction of fees; and (iv) which do not intend to discourage requests for records under the Act. Work, services, publications, or documents which the agency as part of its regular mission has been performing or producing or will be performed or produced for members of the public or for those who are engaged in the transaction of official business of or with the Government, without charge, by user charge, or by publication or subscription charge, are to be distinguished from those records properly requested under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (3) and the fees charged thereunder.

c. The officials designated in subsection 4.01 and 4.02 of this order who are responsible for determining whether any records properly requested under the Act may be made available, shall include in their consideration:

1. Whether the records are of the type referred to in subsection 3.01 of this order, and the request is to be handled in accord with the policy set forth therein;

2. Whether the records are subject to 5 U.S.C. 552(a) (1), (2), or (5), and have been otherwise made publicly available pursuant to paragraphs 5.01a. or 5.02a. of this section;

3. Whether the requester has complied with the published rules covering the making of requests and the payment of fees;

4. Whether the records or information contained in them are matters which fall within one or more of the exemptions contained in 5 U.S.C. 552(b), and if so, whether they are not to be disclosed or whether, if such discretion exists, it would nevertheless be in the public interest to make the record or information available in whole or in part; and

5. Whether any reasonably regregable portion of the record can be disclosed after deletion of the portions which it is determined should not be disclosed.

d. The officials who establish a facility as provided in paragraph 5.02c. of this section may utilize the facility to:

1. receive and assist in processing requests for records;

2. receive from officials the requested records which are made available, maintain custody of them and supervise their inspection and copying by requesters;

3. arrange for making certified and other copies of available records;

4. collect and account for fees established for services connected with the requests;

5. return records after inspection to their place of custody;

6. act as a central communication center between the requesters and the organizations involved in record keeping and officials making determinations as to their availability; and

7. provide reasonable assistance to persons requesting records, including explanations of the applicable procedure and other rules, and making referrals to sources of information available under regular informational programs of the Department.

e. The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall establish such standard forms, procedures and instructions as he deems necessary for processing requests for records, maintaining records of related expenditures, and obtaining information for the Departmental report required by 5 U.S.C. 552(d).

.04 Special Review Requirements.

a. The General Counsel of the Department or one of his designees shall be consulted before any initial denial is issued and no final denial may be issued without his concurrence.

b. The Special Assistant to the Secretary for Public Affairs or his designee shall be consulted before any decision is reached on an appeal from an initial denial, and may be otherwise consulted on any matters.

c. As provided in chapter I, subsection 4.01 of the Department's Handbook of Security Regulations and Procedures, any proposed final denial based even in part on the ground that the matter is exempted from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552(b) (1) (classified information) shall be reviewed by the Department of Commerce National Security Classification Review Committee, and no such final denial be issued without its concurrence.

d. If an initial denial is based, even in part, on the ground that the matter is exempted from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552(b) (3) because of the provisions of section 7(c) of the Export Administration Act of 1969, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2406(c)), or by section 6(c) of its predecessor, the Export Control Act of 1949, as amended, the requester shall be informed that his appeal is to be addressed directly to the Secretary of Commerce, why this is so, and that the appeal is to explain why the Secretary should make the requisite statutory section 7(c) determination in this case.

.05 Annual Report (5 U.S.C. 552(d) of the Act).

a. The Assistant Secretary for Administration shall prepare and transmit to the Congress on or before March 1, of each year the annual report required by the Act.

b. To assist in the preparation of the report, each official specified in subsection 4.01 of this order, shall, no later than January 31 of each year, provided the Assistant Secretary for Administration with the information specified in the Act and such other information as he may require.

SECTION 6. SUPPLEMENTARY RULES.

.01 The Secretary may from time to time issue such supplementary rules or instructions as he deems appropriate to carry out the purposes of this order.

.02 Each duly authorized official may issue rules covering his respective area of responsibility designed to implement this order, and which are consistent herewith and with any rules issued by the Assistant Secretary for Administration.

SECTION 7. EFFECT ON OTHER ORDERS.

This order supersedes Department Administrative order 205-12 of June 29, 1967 as amended. Any other prior orders, rules, or instructions, or parts thereof, the provisions of which are inconsistent or in conflict with the provisions of this order, are hereby constructively amended or superseded.

Signed by: Secretary of Commerce

Amendment 1

Effective Date: 1981-10-13

PUBLIC INFORMATION

Department Administrative Order 205-12 of February 19, 1975 is hereby amended as shown below. The purpose of this amendment is to centralize the handling of appeals from initially denied requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Under this amendment, final denial authority is vested solely in the General Counsel instead of each Secretarial Officer and operating unit head.

1. Section 4. Is revised to read as follows:

"SECTION 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 accord 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 F.R. 19704 December 27, 1970)).

"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 implementing it."

".05a. Program officials shall provide all support and assistance necessary to enable the General Counsel to perform the functions delegated in this order. This shall include (I) 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 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."

2. SECTION 5. FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. a. Subparagraph .03b.5. is revised to read as follows:

"5. A procedure for administrative appeal of a request for a record initially denied in whole or in part. The appeal procedure shall include provisions which insure that; (I) the requester may file an appeal, in writing, within thirty days of receipt of an initial denial; (ii) an appeal shall be considered receive when properly addressed to the General Counsel; (iii) appeals shall be decided without right of the requester for a personal appearance, oral argument, or hearing; (iv) timely decisions on appeals or other notices concerning them shall be made in writing, and communicated to the requester; (v) if the decision is wholly or partly in favor of the requester, the General Counsel shall make the particular records or information available to the requester or order that such be done; and to the extent that the decision is adverse to the requester, it shall briefly state the reason for the decision and the identity of the official responsible for making it, (vi) appeals and their determination shall be indexed and made available for inspection and copying as provided in subsection 5.02 of this section; and (vii) whenever applicable, requesters shall be effectively notified of their right to seek judicial review."

b. Subparagraph .03c. Is revised to read as follows:

"c. The official designated in subsections 4.01 and 4.02 of this order who are responsible for initially determining whether any records properly requested under the Act may be made available, shall include in their consideration:"

c. Paragraph .04 is revised to read as follows:

".04 Special Review of Requirements.

"a. The General Counsel or one of his designees shall be consulted before any initial denial is issued.

"b. The Director of the Office of Public Affairs or his designee shall be informed before nay decision on an appeal from an initial denial is issued.

"c. As provided in Part B, Chapter IV, subsection 5.06f. Of the Department's Handbook of Security Regulations and Procedures, appeals of initial denials based, even in part, on the ground that the matter is exempted from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552(b) (1) (classified information) shall be referred to the Departmental Information Security Program Committee. That Committee shall conduct a declassification review and determine if the record(s) involved may be made available to the public.

"d. Whenever, on appeal from an initially denied request, the General Counsel and the concerned Secretarial officer or operating unit head cannot agree on whether applicable exemptions should be waived, as provided in subsection .03c.4. of this section, the matter shall be promptly referred to the Secretary for resolution."

Signed by: Secretary of Commerce

Amendment 3

Effective Date: 1992-10-15

PUBLIC INFORMATION

Department Administrative Order 205-12, dated February 19, 1975 is hereby further amended as shown below. This amendment eliminates the requirement that the General Counsel or a designee be consulted before the issuance of initial denials of Freedom of Information Act requests and delegates authority to the Assistant General Counsel for Administration to decide Freedom of Information Act appeals, except for appeals for records which were initially decided by the Assistant General Counsel for Administration.

1. SECTION 4. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY. Subparagraph .03 is revised to read as follows:

".03 The authority to make final decisions on appeal of initially denied requests for records is hereby delegated to the Assistant General Counsel for Administration, except for appeals for records which were initially denied by the Assistant General Counsel for Administration, which shall be decided by the General Counsel."

2. SECTION 5. FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. a. Subparagraph .03b.5 is revised to read as follows:

"5. A procedure for administrative appeal of a request for a record initially denied in whole or in part. The appeal procedure shall include provisions which insure that; (i) the requester may file an appeal, in writing, within thirty days of receipt of an initial denial; (ii) an appeal shall be considered received when properly addressed to the Assistant General Counsel for Administration, except for appeals for records which were initially denied by the Assistant General Counsel for Administration, which shall be addressed to the General Counsel; (iii) appeals shall be decided without right of the requester for a personal appearance, oral argument, or hearing; (iv) timely decisions on appeals or other notices concerning them shall be made in writing, and communicated to the requester; (v) if the decision is wholly or partly in favor of the requester, the deciding authority (the Assistant General Counsel for Administration or the General Counsel) shall make the particular records or information available to the requester or order that such be done; and to the extent that the decision is adverse to the requester, it shall briefly state the reason for the decision and the identity of the official responsible for making it; (vi) appeals and their determination shall be indexed and made available for inspection and copying as provided in paragraph .02 of this section; and (vii) whenever applicable, requesters shall be effectively notified of their right to seek judicial review."

b. Subparagraph .04a. is deleted, subparagraphs .04b. through .04d. are renumbered .04a. through .04b. and the renumbered .04c. is revised to read as follows:

"c. Whenever, on appeal from an initially denied request, the Assistant General Counsel for Administration and the concerned Secretarial officer or operating unit head cannot agree on whether applicable exemptions should be waived, as provided in subparagraph .03c. of this section, the matter shall be promptly referred to the General Counsel for resolution. In cases where the General Counsel is handling an appeal from an initially denied request and the General Counsel and the concerned Secretarial Officer or operating unit head cannot agree on whether applicable exemptions should be waived, the matter shall be promptly referred to the Secretary for resolution."

Signed by: Secretary of Commerce

Amendment 4

Effective Date: 1996-01-19

PUBLIC INFORMATION

Department Administrative Order 205-12, dated February 19, 1975 is hereby further amended as shown below. The purpose of this amendment is to eliminate reference of the Office of Public Affairs reviewing, monitoring, and commenting on any initial response to requests for information.

1. SECTION 5. FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. Subparagraph 5.04b. is revised to read as follows.

"b. As provided in paragraph 7.03c. of DAO 205-14, the Operating Unit Public Affairs Officer shall receive a copy of each request at the same time as the Action Office. If the Public Affairs Officer wishes to monitor and/or comment on any response to a particular request prior to transmittal, the Officer shall notify the Action Office within three (3) working days after receiving a copy of the request. The Action Office shall cooperate with the Public Affairs Officer in this effort; and give due consideration to any recommendations or comments from the Officer.

2. This amendment supersedes Amendment 2, dated February 2, 1982

Signed by: Secretary of Commerce

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

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