[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 210 (Wednesday, October 30, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 64885-64886]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-25709]



16 CFR Part 4

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); Miscellaneous Rules 
Redelegation of Authority To Determine Appeals Under the FOIA

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

ACTION: Final rule amendments.


SUMMARY: The Commission is revising its rules to authorize the General 
Counsel to redelegate his or her authority to determine appeals related 
to the Freedom of Information Act (``FOIA''). The Commission is 
adopting these changes in order to improve and expedite the process for 
responding to such appeals. The changes will affect internal procedures 
only and are not intended to influence the outcomes of appeals made 
under the rules. The Commission is also adding a new provision that 
explicitly provides the right to appeal fee waiver determinations under 
the FOIA.

DATES: These amendments are effective October 30, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: W. Ashley Gum, Attorney, Office of the 
General Counsel, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 
20580, 202-326-3006.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Commission's current rule 
governing FOIA appeals (16 CFR 4.11(a)), appeals from initial denials 
of requests for extensions, and initial denials of requests for 
information under the FOIA, are addressed to the General Counsel. 16 
CFR 4.11(a)(3)(i)(A)(4). Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1961, 75 Stat. 
837, authorizes the Commission to delegate any of its functions. It 
imposes no restrictions on the Commission's capacity to authorize a 
Commission official to designate others to carry out delegated 
functions (i.e., to redelegate). The Commission notes that generally

[[Page 64886]]

FOIA appeals are time-consuming because they cannot be decided 
generically. Each appeal can involve numerous documents that must be 
analyzed individually on the basis of the standards provided in the 
FOIA. The Commission believes that this redelegation authority would be 
in the public interest because it would enable the administrative 
review process to be carried out more expeditiously. The Commission is 
therefore revising paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(B) of the rule to authorize 
the General Counsel to redelegate any FOIA appeal function to a Deputy 
General Counsel because it is primarily a legal review to assure 
compliance with existing law and to assure implementation of existing 
Commission policy. Decisions of a Deputy General Counsel on appeal 
shall constitute final agency action. In unusual or difficult cases, 
such as those that present novel policy issues, the General Counsel, in 
his/her discretion, may make the determination himself or refer an 
appeal to the Commission for determination.
    As noted above, the Commission is also adding a new Rule 
4.11(a)(3)(i)(A)(3), which is currently reserved in the CFR, to provide 
FOIA requesters with the explicit right to appeal fee waiver and 
reduction determinations and to include a clear deadline for filing 
such appeals.
    The Commission believes that the proposed rule amendments do not 
require an initial or final regulatory analysis under the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act because the amendments will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. See 5 U.S.C. 
605(b). Most requests for access to FTC records are filed by 
individuals, who are not ``small entities'' within the meaning of that 
Act, 5 U.S.C. 601(6), and, in any event, the economic impact of the 
rule changes on all requesters is expected to be minimal, if any. 
Moreover, these proposed rule amendments are matters of agency practice 
and procedure that are exempt from notice-and-comment requirements of 
the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(b), which also exempts 
the proposed amendments from the analysis requirements of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601(2). Likewise, the amendments 
do not contain information collection requirements within the meaning 
of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520. The Commission 
nonetheless solicited comments regarding the new Rule 
4.11(a)(3)(i)(A)(3),\1\ but that proposed addition did not elicit any 

    \1\ See 78 FR 13570, 13573 (Feb. 28, 2013).

List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 4

    Administrative practice and procedure, Freedom of Information Act.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Federal Trade 
Commission amends Title 16, Chapter I, Subchapter A of the Code of 
Federal Regulations as follows:


1. The authority citation for Part 4 continues to read as follows:

    Authority : 15 U.S.C. 46, unless otherwise noted.

2. Amend Sec.  4.11 by adding paragraph (a)(3)(i)(A)(3) and revising 
paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(B), to read as follows:

Sec.  4.11.  Disclosure requests.

    (a) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (3) If an initial request for a fee waiver or reduction is denied, 
the requester may, within 30 days of the date of the letter notifying 
the requester of that decision, appeal such denial to the General 
Counsel. In unusual circumstances, the time to appeal may be extended 
by the General Counsel or his or her designee.
* * * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (B) The General Counsel may designate a Deputy General Counsel to 
make any determination assigned to the General Counsel by paragraph (a) 
of this section. The General Counsel or the official designated by the 
General Counsel to make the determination shall be deemed solely 
responsible for the denial of all appeals, except where an appeal is 
denied by the Commission. In such instances, the Commission shall be 
deemed solely responsible for the denial.
* * * * *

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
[FR Doc. 2013-25709 Filed 10-29-13; 8:45 am]