You may file an administrative appeal if you are not satisfied with the Commission's initial response for any of the following reasons:

  1. You disagree with the Commission's withholding of information;
  2. You believe that there are additional records responsive to your request that the Commission failed to locate; or
  3. You have requested expedited processing or a fee waiver and the Commission has not granted your request

You should be advised of your right to file an appeal in the initial determination letter sent by the FOIA Officer or in the letter denying your request for expedited processing or a fee waiver.

Ordinarily, your appeal must be received within 45 days of the date of the determination letter. This time may be extended if you can show that unusual circumstances prevented you from appealing or if the Commission failed to notify you of your right to appeal in its determination letter.

The General Counsel's Office may take one of several actions on your appeal:

  1. It may affirm the FOIA Officer's action in full in which case it will identify which exemptions (if any) have been appropriately claimed;
  2. It may affirm part of the Officer's action identifying the applicable exemptions but order the release of other information previously withheld; or
  3. It may return or "remand" the request to the Officer for complete reprocessing.

When a case is remanded, you will have an opportunity again to appeal to the General Counsel's Office after the Director has reprocessed the records if you remain dissatisfied with the Director's action in any respect.

In unusual circumstances, the time limit for deciding an appeal may be extended by up to 10 working days by the Secretary who will send a written notice to the General Counsel setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched.

This page was last updated on August 04, 2020