CUNA Regulatory Comment Call
October 27, 2003
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests
- The NCUA Board unanimously approved a final rule to reflect the changes in the agencys internal procedures for processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
- FOIA is a federal statute that allows any person to obtain those records of a federal agency that are generally nonpublic. The agency is required to disclose such records upon receiving a written request for them; the agency may only withhold records that fall within certain FOIA exemptions.
- NCUAs FOIA regulation establishes agency procedures for requesting access to NCUA records. A FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. Examples of records that can be requested from NCUA through the FOIA process are: fields of membership; credit union charter; report of officials; and financial performance reports (a five-year historical analysis of credit unions in the same peer group). Generally, exempt information includes: credit union examination records; records which, if released, would cause an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; confidential proprietary business information; internal communications regarding proposed NCUA policies; and law enforcement investigative records.
- NCUA is changing its FOIA regulation to provide for centralized processing of FOIA requests. Previously, NCUAs FOIA rule instructed the public to submit FOIA requests to one of nine offices where they believed the records were located. This decentralized system required FOIA requesters, some of whom were not familiar with NCUA recordkeeping practices, to determine where NCUA stored records.
- The following are the major provisions in the rule:
- FOIA requesters should submit their FOIA requests to either NCUAs Central Office of the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Requests for OIG records will be processed by the OIG. All other records will be processed by the Office of General Counsel in the Central Office. FOIA requesters should submit a single request to the Central Office, which will search all relevant offices for the records.
- As a general policy, all documents in existence at the time NCUA begins its search for records will be included in the scope of the request. If, for administrative reasons, NCUA uses a different cut-off date to determine the scope of the request, the agency will inform the requester.
- FOIA requesters should include their e-mail addresses if they want to receive their FOIA response by e-mail.
- This rule is effective December 29, 2003, without further action, unless adverse comment is received by December 1, 2003. If NCUA receives adverse comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register. If NCUA receives adverse comments, the agency will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register. Please feel free to fax your responses by November 21, 2003 to CUNA at 202-638-7052; e-mail them to Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Senior Regulatory Counsel Catherine Orr at email@example.com or mail them to Mary and Catherine in c/o CUNAs Regulatory Advocacy Department, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., South Building, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20004-2601. To obtain a copy of the final rule, please contact us.
QUESTIONS REGARDING THE RULE
- Do you feel it is reasonable to designate the OIG and Central Office (Office of General Counsel) as the
NCUA information centers for purposes of responding to FOIA requests?
Yes ______ No ______
If not, why not?
- Do you agree with the general policy of using the date that NCUA begins its search as the cut-off date
in determining what records are responsive to a FOIA request?
Yes ______ No ______
If not, what cut-off date do you suggest?
- Do you have any other recommendations or concerns regarding the NCUA procedures for processing FOIA
Yes ______ No ______
If yes, please describe the recommendation(s) or concern(s).
Eric Richard General Counsel (202) 508-6742 firstname.lastname@example.org |
Mary Mitchell Dunn SVP & Associate General Counsel (202) 508-6736 email@example.com
Jeffrey Bloch Assistant General Counsel (202) 508-6732 firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine Orr Senior Regulatory Counsel (202) 508-6743 email@example.com