FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: FTC publishes two rules to modify FOIA regulations

FOIA News (2015-16)Ryan MulveyComment

In today's issue of the Federal Register, the Federal Trade Commission published two separate rules relating to its FOIA regulations.

First, in a final rule, effective immediately, the FTC revised "its Rules of Practice governing access to agency records to implement provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016."  This rule was adopted without an opportunity for public comment because it "relate[s] solely to agency practice and procedure."

Second, the FTC published a proposed rule to amend certainfee provisions in its FOIA regulations.  The agency seeks to modify its definition of a "representative of the news media" so as to comport with the current statutory definition.  Further, it intends to introduce a requirement that, "[t]o qualify for news media status, a request must not be for a nonjournalistic commercial use."  With respect to the dissemination requirement for public interest fee waivers, the FTC proposes to replace "the understanding of the public at large" with simply "public understanding," which would reflect the statutory standard.  Finally, the agency has outlined a number of changes to its fee schedule and limitations on fees when a response to a request is untimely.  The comment period closes on January 23, 2017.