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How to Make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Privacy Act Request

May 12, 2017

Sending Your FOIA Request

A FOIA request for a copy of U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) records can be made by any individual, private organization, or public organization, other than another Federal agency. The request must: (1) be in writing, (2) specifically cite the Freedom of Information Act, (3) reasonably describe the records sought (by name, date, and subject matter), and (4) indicate a willingness to pay fees, (specify the amount they are willing to pay) or ask for a fee waiver. Use our online form, fax (202-772-9337), or mail (100 F Street NE, Mail Stop 2736, Washington, DC 20549). Be sure to state your name, address, and telephone number on your request. You need not say why you want the records. Please limit a request to one subject. If records are required on more than one subject, i.e., a company or individual, please submit a request for each subject. If a request contains multiple subjects, it will be divided into multiple requests.

Processing Your FOIA Request

By law, we have 20 business days from the date the Office of FOIA Services receives your request to respond. Under unusual circumstances, an extension of time may be required.

You may request expedited processing if you demonstrate a compelling need for the information. "Compelling need" means: (1) that a failure to obtain requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to an individual's life or physical safety; or (2) if the requester is primarily engaged in disseminating information, then there must be an urgency to inform the public about actual or alleged federal government activity. You must show a compelling need by a statement certified by you as true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.

FOIA Staff will inform you whether we will expedite your request within 10 days from the date of your request for expedited processing. If your request is denied, you will be provided appeal rights to the SEC's Office of the General Counsel.

Inspection or Duplication of Records

If a determination is made to release records to you, you may arrange to inspect the records at the SEC Headquarters in Washington, DC or, in certain cases, at a regional or district office, or you may ask that a copy be made and sent to you at $0.24 per page, in accordance with the schedule of fees in 17 CFR 200.80(e).

Search, Review, and Duplication Fees

Commercial requesters must pay all fees associated with the search, review, and duplication of records. Educational institutions, representatives of the news media, and non-commercial scientific institutions must pay for duplication only, except for the first 100 pages. All others must pay for search and duplication, except for the first 100 pages and the first two hours of search.

The rate for search and review will be assessed in quarter-hour increments, as indicated in the schedule of fees. If necessary, we will obtain your written authorization when the search or review, or both, will exceed $28.00.

Fee Waivers

The FOIA permits a waiver of fees if release of the records is in the public interest because it (a) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of SEC operations or activities and (b) is not primarily in the requester's commercial interest. The U.S. Department of Justice, which provides guidance on FOIA compliance throughout the federal government, sets out six points for agencies to consider when deciding whether to grant a fee waiver.

Privacy Act Requests

Under the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 USC 552a, you may send a written request for your records or their correction to the Office of FOIA Services by Using our online form, fax (202-772-9337), or mail Office of FOIA Services (100 F Street NE, Mail Stop 2736, Washington, DC 20549). Include information that will assist the SEC's staff in identifying the records you are seeking. We will grant or deny access to your records within 30 business days from the date the Office of FOIA Services receives your written request. Under unusual circumstances, we will notify you in writing within the 30 day period that, for good cause, a longer time is needed.


For any other questions please see the SEC FOIA rule (17 CFR 200.80) or call the Office of FOIA Services at 202-551-8300 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

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