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The Office of FOIA Services: What It Is, What It Does

Submit a FOIA Request on our Online Form Submit a FOIA Appeal on our Online Form

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which can be found in Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552, was enacted in 1966 and provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information. All agencies of the United States government are required to disclose records upon receiving a written request for them, except for those records that are protected from disclosure by the nine exemptions and three exclusions of the FOIA. This right of access is enforceable in court.

The Privacy Act of 1974, which can be found in Title 5 of the United States Code, section 552a, establishes safeguards for the protection of records the Government collects and maintains on United States citizens and lawfully admitted permanent residents.

Records You Can Obtain

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) maintains public and non-public records. Public records, such as registration statements and reports filed by regulated companies and individuals, SEC decisions and releases, staff manuals, no-action and interpretive letters, and public comments on proposed rules, are available through the Public Reference facilities located at SEC Headquarters (Conventional and Electronic Reading Rooms). Most public filings since 1995, SEC releases since September 1995, and other public records are also at the SEC web site

A FOIA request is required to obtain non-public records, such as records compiled in investigations, consumer complaints, and staff comment letters. We will release non-public records, unless the record is protected by one of nine FOIA exemptions. If we can reasonably segregate or delete exempt information from a requested record, we will release to you the rest of the record. In addition to FOIA exemptions, there are three special protection provisions, referred to as record "exclusions."  The FOIA exclusions are reserved for certain specified circumstances. 

Contact Information

Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of FOIA Services
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-2736

Phone: 202-551-7900
Fax: 202-772-9336

New FOIA Regulations

  • The appeals time frame will be 90 calendar days. Friday, August 14, 2015 is the effective date.
  • New fees will be effective on Monday, August 17. They will be calculated as follows:
  • The rates will be updated as salaries change and will be determined by using the formula in the regulation.
  • For the current calendar year, the fees would be assessed as follows:
    • SK-8 or below: $29/hour;
    • SK-9 to 13: $61/hour; and
    • SK-14 or above: $89/hour.
  • The Commission can charge FOIA requesters in quarter-hour increments.
  • There will no longer be up to one half hour of staff time devoted to searching for and reviewing Commission records without charge.
  • Copy costs will remain the same.

*Note — All requests that are received on or after Monday, August 17 will be charged under the new rates above.

Modified: May 21, 2013