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Proposed Rule

Procedures for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom of Information Act

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Postal Service proposes to amend its Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) regulations regarding fee waivers. These changes would improve clarity and more closely align the regulations with both the relevant guidance from the Department of Justice's Office of Information Policy and the relevant statute.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before September 25, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

Mail or deliver written comments to: Associate General Counsel and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 6000, Washington, DC 20260-1135. Email and faxed comments are not accepted. You may inspect and photocopy all written comments, by appointment only, at USPS® Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, 11th Floor North, Washington, DC 20260. These records are available for review on Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., by calling 202-268-2904. All submitted comments and attachments are part of the public record and subject to disclosure. Do not enclose any material in your comments that you consider to be confidential or inappropriate for public disclosure.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ruth B. Stevenson, Attorney, Federal Compliance, ruth.b.stevenson@usps.gov, 202-268-6627.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Postal Service proposes to amend 39 CFR part 265 to improve clarity and to more closely align the regulations with both the relevant guidance from the Department of Justice's Office of Information Policy and the relevant statute, 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). The portion of the regulations being amended concerns fee waivers. Generally speaking, fees for a FOIA request will be waived “if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). The guidance from the Department of Justice elucidates a six-factor test from this rule—two of which of which relate to the commercial interest of the requester. The amendment to 39 CFR 265.9(j)(3)(i) clarifies that the first commercial interest factor is to determine whether a commercial interest exists. The amendment to 39 CFR 265.9(j)(3)(ii) incorporates the balancing test from the statute as the second part of the commercial interest factor, along with adding a presumption concerning news media requesters.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 265

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • Courts
  • Freedom of information
  • Government employees
End List of Subjects

For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Postal Service proposes to amend 39 CFR chapter I as follows:

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PART 265—[AMENDED]

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1. The authority citation for part 265 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552; 5 U.S.C. App. 3; 39 U.S.C. 401, 403, 410, 1001, 2601; Pub. L. 114-185.

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2. Amend § 265.9 to revise paragraphs (j)(3)(i) and (ii) to read as follows:

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Fees.
* * * * *

(j) * * *

(3) * * *

(i) Whether there is a commercial interest, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. If so, then the requester will be given an opportunity to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration.

(ii) Whether any identified commercial interest of the requester in disclosure outweighs the public interest, as defined in paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section, in disclosure. If so, then the disclosure is “primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” The component ordinarily shall presume that if a news media requester has satisfied the public interest standard, the public interest is the primary interest served by the requested disclosure. Disclosure to data brokers or others who merely compile and market government information for direct Start Printed Page 44566economic return shall not be presumed to primarily serve the public interest.

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Start Signature

Ruth Stevenson,

Attorney, Federal Compliance.

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[FR Doc. 2019-18326 Filed 8-23-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 7710-12-P