U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
SEC Seal
Home | Previous Page
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

SEC FOIA Program
Freedom of Information Act
Annual Report for the Fiscal Year Ending
September 30, 1999


October 1, 1998 to September 30, 1999

I. Information About This Report

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

Name: Brenda L. Fuller, Valerie R. Lewis, or Lesia Banks Thornton
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

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 may be submitted to the FOIA Office 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 are committed to processing our requests as quickly as possible. In fact, we responded to 1,543 Fast-Track requests within ten business days. This number represents more than half of the requests processed this year. Requests in our FIFO system required review of an average of 11 boxes of records and resolution of about 50 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). In addition, we affirmatively responded to 85 requests for information in an electronic format (diskette and magnetic cartridge). The total programming and production cost charged to the requesters ranged from $16.95 to $550.00.

IV. Requests

A. Number of requests

1. Total number of requests received: 3,0061
2. Total number of requests pending as of the end of the preceding fiscal year: 114
3. Total number of requests processed: 2,990
4. Total number of pending requests as of end of the year: 130

B. Disposition of requests

1. Total number of determinations to grant all requested records: 8232
2. Total number of denials: 7123
(denied in full 246;
denied in part 466)
3. Authority relied upon for each such determination:
  Exemptions cited in 552(b)

   Exemption
Number
Number
of Times4
  
   2 97
   3 7
   4 102
   5 104
   6 175
   7(A) 328
   7(B) 0
   7(C) 100
   7(D) 1
   7(E) 40
   8 60
  

4. Other Authority:
   Reason Number
of Times5
  
   Duplicate request 52
   No responsive records 1,088
   Referred to the Public Reference Branch 2836
   Referred to the appropriate SEC Office 147
   Referred to another agency 6
   Withdrawn 11
   Estimated cost 1
   Pending 1308
  

5. Name and title of persons responsible for denials:
   Name: Betty A. Lopez (Formerly Betty A. Hopkins)
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Officer
Number of denials: 429
   Name: Hannah R. Hall (Retired)
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Officer
Number of denials: 160
   Name: Stephen F. Mayle (Former Branch Chief)
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch Chief
Number of denials: 44
   Name: Valerie R. Lewis
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch Chief
Number of denials: 30
   Name: Brenda L. Fuller
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch Chief
Number of denials: 30
   Name: Lesia Banks Thornton
Title: Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Branch Chief
Number of denials: 19

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 24(d)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78x(d)

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

1. Contract Bids/Proposals
2. Records from foreign securities authority

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. Number of appeals received under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6) during fiscal year: 41
2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year: 269

B. Disposition of appeals

1. Number completely upheld: 14
2. Number partially reversed: 0
3. Number completely reversed: 910
4. Total number of withdrawn appeals: 3
5. Total number of pending appeals: 18
6. Number of times each FOIA Exemption used:  
 
  Exemption
Number
Number
of Times11
  
  2 1
  4 2
  5 2
  6 1
  7(A) 9
  7(C) 5
  7(E) 0
  8 1
  
 
7. Other reasons for nondisclosure: 3
a. no records - 1
  b. not a proper FOIA request - 1
  c. duplicate request - 1

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

Name: Celia Jacoby
Title: Senior Counsel
Office: Office of 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: 2,975
  Median number of days to process: 10
  Average number of days to process: 13
2. FIFO Requests  
  Number of requests processed: 15
  Median number of days to process: 141
  Average number of days to process: 159
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: 130
2. Median number of days Fast-Track requests were pending: 14
3. Average number of days Fast-Track requests were pending: 15
4. Median number of days FIFO requests were pending: 60
5. Average number of days FIFO requests were pending: 60

VIII. Cost/FOIA Staffing

A. Staffing levels

1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel: 21
2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties: 3312
(3 in total work years)
3. Total number of personnel: 54 full and part-time/occasional
(24 in total work years)

B. Total cost

Incremental costs incurred in administering the FOIA: $1,859,700.00

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 1999 is $30,553.97. 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 requester 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 the Office of Management and Budget's fee guidelines.

B. Percentage of total cost:

2%

Definitions of Terms and Acronyms

Agency

Securities and Exchange Commission - SEC

Basic Terms

1. Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) 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) 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 request (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 of the 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 system for processing requests for less than three boxes of material.
16. First-In, First-Out (FIFO) a multi-track system 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.

Attachments


Footnotes

1 Requests include 2,985 FOIA requests, 6 GITSA requests, and 15 PA requests.
2 Determinations include 35 requests received in Fiscal Year 1998, but finalized in Fiscal Year 1999.
3 Determinations include 54 requests received in 1998, but finalized in 1999 (10 denied in full and 44 denied in part).
4 More than one exemption may be claimed for each request.
5 These numbers include 25 requests received in Fiscal Year 1998, but finalized in Fiscal Year 1999.
6 These requests are for public information that the SEC makes available through its Public Reference Room.
7 These requests were submitted by certain parties (e.g., Federal, State, and Local authorities) that could receive the requested material under another SEC rule or procedure. Therefore, these requests were routed to the appropriate SEC Office or Division for processing.
8 This number includes 6 FIFO requests and 124 Fast-Track requests (92 of which were received in September of 1999). We sent partial responses to all of the FIFO requests and 40 of the Fast-Track requests.
9 This total includes 2 appeals filed in Fiscal Year 1998, but finalized in Fiscal Year 1999.
10 1 reversed in full and 8 remanded to the FOIA Office for further processing after an enforcement investigation was closed and Exemption 7(A) no longer applied.
11 More than one exemption may be claimed for each appeal.
12 This is the number of FOIA liaisons in the SEC's Offices and Divisions at Headquarters and in the field offices, whose part-time collateral duties include searching for and reviewing records responsive to FOIA requests and making recommendations on such records. The responsive records and the liaison's recommendation are sent to the FOIA Office for final review and response to the requester.

http://www.sec.gov/foia/arfoia99.htm


Modified: 01/24/2000