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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC FOIA Program
Freedom of Information Act
Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ending
September 30, 1998


October 1, 1997 to September 30, 1998

I. Information About This Report

If you have any questions about this report, please contact the following persons:

Name:  Betty A. Lopez or Stephen F. Mayle
Title:  Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch Chiefs
Address:  Securities and Exchange Commission
Operations Center
6432 General Green Way, Mail Stop O-5
Alexandria, VA 22312-2413
Telephone
number: 
(202) 942-4320

The electronic address for this report on the SEC's World Wide Web site is:
http://www.sec.gov/foia/arfoia98.htm

To obtain a copy of this report in paper form send a letter to:

Securities and Exchange Commission
Publications Branch
450 Fifth Street, NW
Mail Stop C-11
Washington, DC 20549

II. How To Make a FOIA Request

A.  A copy of our publication "How to Make a FOIA Request" is available on the SEC's World Wide Web site at http://www.sec.gov/foia/howfo2.htm

B.  The Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) FOIA/Privacy Act Office is centralized. FOIA requests are considered received by the SEC only when they reach the FOIA Office (See 17 CFR 200.80(d)(9)(ii)). Written requests should be submitted to the FOIA Officer by:
e-mail: foia/pa@sec.gov;
fax: (703) 914-1149; or
mail: SEC Operations Center
6432 General Green Way, Mail Stop O-5
Alexandria, VA 22312-2413

III. Introduction

The SEC has two tracking systems (Fast-Track and First-In, First-Out (FIFO)). The Fast-Track and FIFO response times differ significantly. We responded to 880 Fast-Track requests within three business days of receipt and many other Fast-Track requests within ten business days. FOIA Specialists were required to negotiate with confidential treatment requesters and consult with our liaisons in other offices in order to finalize some Fast-Track requests. This required us to obtain thirteen extensions of time for ten additional days. However, partial responses were sent to the requesters in the interim. Requests in our FIFO system sought our review of an average of 20 boxes of records, most of which were subject to requests for confidential treatment.

Many requests received by the SEC are for investigatory records, consumer complaints, and nonpublic correspondence. Some of these requests were denied because the records related to on-going investigations (Exemption 7(A)), personal privacy (Exemptions 6 and 7(C)), and intra and inter-agency records (Exemption 5).

IV. Requests

A. Number of requests

1. Total number of requests received: 31761

2. Total number of requests pending as of the end of the preceding fiscal year: 128

3. Total number of requests processed: 3190

4. Total number of pending requests as of end of the year: 114

B. Disposition of requests

1. Total number of determinations to grant all requested records: 8892

2. Total number of denials: 6383 (denied in full 222; denied in part 416)

3. Authority relied upon for each such determination:

Exemptions cited in 552(b)

Exemption
Number

Number of
Times Invoked4


2 111
3 3
4 91
5 124
6 136
7(A) 300
7(B) 1
7(C) 129
7(D) 3
7(E) 37
8 67

4. Other Authority:

Reason5
Number
of Times

Duplicate request 43
No responsive records 1190
Referred to the Public Reference Branch 3846
Referred to the appropriate SEC Office 157
Referred to another agency 4
Withdrawn 38
Estimated cost 3
Pending 1148

5. Name and title of persons responsible for denials:

Name: Hannah R. Hall
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Officer
Number of denials: 565

Name: Betty A. Lopez
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch Chief
Number of denials: 71

Name: Stephen F. Mayle
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch Chief
Number of denials: 2

V. Exemption 3 Statutes

A. List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by the agency during current fiscal year:

1. Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1941, 41 U.S.C. 253b(m)(1) and (2), as amended in 1996

2. Section 210(b) of the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. 80b-10(b)

3. Section 13(f)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78m(f)(3)

B. Brief description of the types of information withheld under each statute:

1. Contract Bid (non-winning)

2. Investment Advisor Examination Reports

3. Confidential portion of Form 13F filed by individual

C. Statement of whether a court has upheld the use of each statute:

The SEC's decisions to withhold records under Exemption 3 have not been challenged. Consequently, no court has upheld the FOIA Officer's decisions to withhold information under Exemption 3 statutes.

VI. Appeal of Denials of FOIA/PA Requests

A. Number of appeals

1. Total number of appeals from adverse decisions: 14

2. Total number of appeals from adverse decisions processed pursuant to Subsection (a)(6): 289

Affirmed in full 21
Affirmed in part 2
Remanded (part or all) 3
Overturned in full 1
Withdrawn 1
Pending 3

B. Disposition of appeals

Authority relied upon for total or partial denials on appeals:

Exemption
Number
Number of
Times Invoked10


(b)(2) 5
(b)(4) 5
(b)(5) 9
(b)(6) 2
(b)(7)(A) 3
(b)(7)(C) 10
(b)(7)(E) 1
(b)(8) 5

C. Name and title of persons responsible for all appeal denials, remands, and withdrawals:

Name: Richard M. Humes
Title: Associate General Counsel

VII. Compliance with Time Limits of Pending Requests

A. Median and Average processing time for request processed during current year

1. Fast Track Requests

  Number of requests processed: 3175

  Median number of days to process: 7

  Average number of days to process: 8

2. FIFO Requests

  Number of requests processed: 15

  Median number of days to process: 151

  Average number of days to process: 162

3. Number of requests accorded expedited processing: none

B. Status of Pending Requests

1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 114

2. Median number of days Fast-Track requests were pending: 5

3. Average number of days Fast-Track requests were pending: 9

4. Median number of days FIFO requests were pending: 104

5. Average number of days FIFO requests were pending: 102

VIII. Cost/FOIA Staffing

A. Staffing levels

1. Number of full time FOIA personnel: 18

2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties: 33 (2.4 in total work years)

3. Total number of personnel: 51 full and part time/occasional (20.4 in total work years)

B. Total cost

Incremental costs incurred in administering the FOIA: $1,700,621.00

IX. Fees

A. Total dollar amount of fees collected for making records available:

The total amount of fees collected by the SEC for Fiscal Year 1998 is $23,885.05. This figure represents search and review costs only. The SEC uses a private company, under contract with the agency, to duplicate records that exceed twenty pages. The contractor charged the requesters or the SEC (when free copies were provided) 24 cents per page for copies. The rate schedule, attached as Exhibit A, is formulated annually on a direct cost basis as set out in Office of Management and Budget Guidelines.

B. Percentage of total cost:

1.4%

Definitions of Terms and Acronyms

Agency

Securities and Exchange Commission SEC

Basic Terms

1. Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA request) a FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest.
2. Privacy Act request (PA request) a PA request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are usually processed under both the PA and the FOIA.
3. The Government in the Sunshine Act (GITSA) a GITSA request is a request for access to transcripts of SEC open meetings.
4. Confidential Treatment Request (CTR) a CTR is a request by or on behalf of the submitter of a record and/or information that the SEC withhold the material under one or more of the FOIA exemptions.
5. Requester - an individual submitting a request to the SEC under the FOIA, PA, or GITSA for access to records or for the confidential treatment of records.
6. Written Request a written plea to the SEC for access to records under the FOIA, PA, or GITSA.
7. Appeal - a request to the SEC asking that the Office of General Counsel review a decision of the FOIA/PA Officer to fully or partially deny access to records under the FOIA or any other FOIA determination, such as a denial of a fee waiver or reduction.
8. Processed Request or Appeal a request or appeal for which the SEC has taken a final action on the request or appeal in all respects.
9. Grant a decision to disclose records in response to a request.
10. Denial - a decision to withhold any part of a record or records in response to a request because the information is determined by the SEC to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA exemptions.
11. Partial Response a decision (prior to completing the research and review of all responsive records) to grant, partially grant, or deny access to responsive records, or to advise the requester that one or more responsive records relating to a portion of the request cannot be located.
12. Determination/Response a decision regarding an action on a request.
13. Pending Request a request for which no final determination has been made.
14. Multi-track processing a system in which requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous requests are placed in other tracks.
15. Fast-Track a multi-track for processing requests for less than three boxes of material.
16. First-in, First-out (FIFO) a multi-track for processing requests for three or more boxes of material.
17. Expedited Processing the SEC will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritizing his or her request over other requests that were submitted earlier.
18. Time limits the time period in the FOIA for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily twenty working days from receipt of a FOIA request).
19. Exemption 3 statute a separate federal statute specifically prohibiting the disclosure of certain types of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA Subsection (b)(3).
20. Median Number the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
21. Average Number the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.

Attachment:

Schedule of Fees for Records Services (Exhibit A)


Endnotes

1 Requests include 3142 FOIA requests, 21 GITSA requests, and 13 PA requests.
2 Determinations include 41 requests received in Fiscal Year 1997, but finalized in Fiscal Year 1998.
3 Determinations include 1 request received in 1996, 49 requests received in 1997, but finalized in 1998 (10 denied in full and 40 denied in part), and 4 requests received in Fiscal Year 1998 with a partial response sent but no final determination by the end of the Fiscal Year.
4 More than one exemption may be claimed for each request.
5 These numbers include 37 requests received in Fiscal Year 1997, but pending in Fiscal Year 1998, and 10 requests received in Fiscal Year 1998 with a partial response sent but no final determination by the end of the Fiscal Year.
6 These requests concern information made available to the public by the SEC's Public Reference Room.
7 These requests concern records that were sought under the FOIA, but available to certain parties (e.g., State, Federal, and Local agencies) under another SEC rule or procedure. Therefore, these requests were directed to appropriate SEC offices or divisions.
8 This number includes 7 requests pending in the FIFO System; 14 requests with partial responses sent, but no final determination by the end of the year; and 93 requests received in September of 1998, with no determination by the month's end.
9 This total includes 17 appeals filed in Fiscal Year 1997 but finalized in Fiscal Year 1998.
10 More than one exemption may be claimed for each appeal.

Freedom of Information Act Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1997

http://www.sec.gov/foia/arfoia98.htm


Modified: 01/27/1999