The Freedom of Information Act gives Americans the opportunity to gather information about government activities.

AmeriCorps’ FOIA Team

  • Fernando Laguarda, Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer, Phone: (202) 606-6994
  • Stephanie Soper, FOIA Officer, foia@cns.gov
  • Jana Maser, FOIA Appeals Officer, jmaser@cns.gov
  • Email Us: foia@cns.gov

 

Submit your FOIA request to foia@cns.gov (preferred), by mail to the address below, or by fax to 202-606-3467. If you submit by mail or fax, please include your email address for quick response.

Guidance on FOIA and the Privacy Act

This page was created to give basic guidance on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974 in a clear and plain manner in order to help the public exercise their rights. The questions and answers have been tailored to the FOIA and Privacy Act procedures of AmeriCorps. This guidance is not a comprehensive treatment of the complex issues associated with the FOIA and the Privacy Act. For more information, please see the U. S. Department of Justice's Guide to the FOIA and Overview of the Privacy Act.

The FOIA, enacted in 1966, as amended, generally provides that any person has a right of access to Federal agency records. This right of access is enforceable in court, except for those records that are protected from disclosure by the nine exemptions to the FOIA. These are discussed further down in the text.

The Privacy Act is closely related to the FOIA and is another Federal law about access to Federal government records. The Privacy Act establishes certain controls over how the executive branch agencies of the Federal government gather, maintain, and disseminate personal information. Like the FOIA, the Privacy Act can be used to get information, but it pertains only to records the Federal government keeps on individual citizens and lawfully admitted resident aliens that are stored in a system of records. The FOIA, on the other hand, covers all records under the custody and control of Federal executive branch agencies.

This information contains both general and AmeriCorps-specific information about the most significant provisions of the FOIA and the Privacy Act. We hope you find this information helpful.

The Freedom of Information Act

Please see FOIA.gov for extensive information about the Freedom of Information Act.

What information is available under the FOIA?
The FOIA provides access to all Federal agency records (or portions of those records), except those that are protected from release by nine specific exemptions (that is, reasons an agency may withhold records from a requester). The exemptions cover such material as (1) classified national defense and foreign relations information, (2) internal agency personnel rules and practices, (3) material prohibited from disclosure by another law, (4) trade secrets and other confidential business information, (5) certain inter-agency or intra-agency communications, (6) personnel, medical, and other files involving personal privacy, (7) certain records compiled for law enforcement purposes, (8) matters relating to the supervision of financial institutions, and (9) geological information on oil wells.

Under the FOIA, you may ask for and receive a copy of any record that is in Federal official files and is not covered by one of the exemptions. The request must be sent to the relevant agency. 

When you make a FOIA request, you must describe the material you want as specifically as possible. If the agency, with a reasonable amount of effort, cannot identify what you have requested, it is under no obligation to you.

The FOIA does not require agencies to do research for you, to compile or analyze data, or to answer questions.

The FOIA does not apply to Congress or the courts, nor to state or local government records. It does not require private organizations or businesses to release any information directly to the public, even if that information has been submitted to the government. However, information that private firms submit to the Federal government may be available through a FOIA request, so long as the information is not a trade secret, confidential business information, or protected by some other exemption.

FOIA at AmeriCorps

How do I submit a FOIA request to AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps has one centralized FOIA office for the entire agency, in the Office of the General Counsel. It is also responsible for processing Privacy Act requests. FOIA and Privacy Act requests can be sent to AmeriCorps in five ways:
(1) By email (preferred) to FOIA@cns.gov.
(2) By mail to:
      AmeriCorps
      Office of the General Counsel
      Attn: Freedom of Information Act Officer
      250 E Street, SW
      Washington, DC 20525
Because Federal mail goes through a security screening process, it might take up to several weeks for your letter to reach us.
(3) By fax to (202) 606-3467. If you send your request by fax, make sure it contains your return address and a telephone contact number or email address.
(4) In person: You may deliver a FOIA request by hand between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays.
(5) Through the National FOIA Portal at FOIA.gov.


What information does AmeriCorps need in a FOIA request?
Identify the records you want as specifically as possible. Although you do not have to give the document's name or title, your request must reasonably describe the records you seek. Any facts or clues which you can give us about the time, place, persons, events, subjects, or other details about the records you seek will be help agency personnel determine where to search and which records are responsive to your request. This can save you and the government time and money and improve your prospects for getting what you want. There is a sample request at the end of this page.

Keep a copy of your request. You may need it in the event of an appeal or if your original request is not answered.

Although FOIA does not require it, you may state your reason(s) for your request. (You should, however, always give the reason(s) for requesting a fee waiver.) 

What does it cost to get records under the FOIA?
Depending on the nature of the requester, an agency may charge no fees, fees for searching for the material, or fees for search and review. AmeriCorps normally sends responses electronically, but if you want a paper copy, there may be fees for copying. The U. S. Department of Justice's Guide to the FOIA has an excellent section on fees. Search fees generally reflect salary levels of the personnel needed for the search. Actual costs can vary from agency to agency.

For non-commercial requests, AmeriCorps does not charge requesters for the first two hours of search time. AmeriCorps may waive further charges if the total cost is minimal.

You may ask AmeriCorps for a waiver or reduction of fees if you can show that the information you are seeking will, when released, contribute significantly to the public understanding of the operations or activities of the government. Simply asserting that, however, is not sufficient.

How long will it take to get a response to my request?
Federal agencies are required to answer your request for information within 20 working days of receipt (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays). If you have not received a reply by the end of that time, you may write a follow-up letter or telephone the agency to ask about the delay. Sometimes an agency may need more than 20 working days to find the records, examine them, possibly consult other persons or agencies, and decide whether it will disclose the requested records. If that is the case, the agency is required to inform you before the deadline. Agencies have the right to extend this period up to 10 more working days.

What happens if the agency refuses to give me the information?
An agency ordinarily will deny a FOIA request, in whole or in part, only if it has a serious practical problem with granting it, supported by a legal reason (that is, one of the FOIA exemptions) for denial. The agency must give you the reason (the exemption) for denial in writing and inform you of your right to appeal the decision.

How do I appeal a denial?
You should promptly send a letter notifying the agency that you want to appeal. The denial letter will tell you to whom you should send your appeal letter. AmeriCorps requires that appeals be made within 60 days from the date of AmeriCorps’ letter notifying you of our decision to deny your request for records. 

To appeal, simply ask the agency to review your FOIA request and change its decision. State the reason(s) you believe that the denial was wrong. It will save time in acting on your appeal if you include copies of the original request for information and the agency's letter of denial. You do not need to enclose copies of any documents released to you.

The agency has 20 working days after it receives your appeal letter to respond. Under certain circumstances, it may also take an extension of up to 10 working days. If, however, an agency takes 10 extra days to deny your initial request, it is not be entitled to an extension on the appeal.

What can I do if my appeal is rejected?

If you are willing to invest the time and money, you may take the matter to court. You can file a FOIA lawsuit in either the U.S. District Court where you live, where you have your principal place of business, where the documents are kept, or in the District of Columbia. In court, the agency will have to prove that the withheld records, or the withheld portions of them, are covered by one of the exemptions listed in the FOIA. If you win a substantial portion of your case, the court may require the government to pay court costs and reasonable attorney's fees for you.

Can I ask for information about other people?
The FOIA contains a very important provision concerning personal privacy: Exemption 6. It protects you from others who may seek information about you, but AmeriCorps may also use it to deny a request if you seek information about others. The FOIA's Exemption 6 permits an agency to withhold information about individuals if disclosing it would be a "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." This includes, for example, almost all of the information in medical files and much of the information in personnel files. The FOIA’s Exemption 6 cannot be used to deny you access to information about yourself, only to deny you information about other persons. 

To be covered by Exemption 6, the information requested must be (1) about an identifiable individual, (2) an invasion of the individual's privacy if disclosed to others, and (3) "clearly unwarranted" to disclose. Release of information about an individual is considered an invasion of privacy if he or she could reasonably object because of its personal nature or its possible adverse effects upon himself or herself or family.

Such information is not protected by Exemption 6 if the injury to the individual is outweighed by a public interest favoring disclosure. For example, home addresses are generally exempt from release for unspecified or random uses such as commercial solicitation but may be released to state income tax authorities for state law enforcement. If you were seeking information about a Federal employee's working status, an agency usually would disclose at least his or her name, grade, salary, job title, and permanent work location, but an agency will not usually disclose similar information about an employee of a private business. However, Federal employees do have some privacy protection. For example, if you want to see the details of an investigative report which led to an employee's demotion, an agency might decide that disclosure of these details is not justified on public interest grounds. This would be so even though the information generally would be available to the demoted employee.

Sample FOIA Request Letter

Date

AmeriCorps
Office of the General Counsel
Attn: FOIA Officer
250 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20525

Dear Freedom of Information Act Officer:
Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. subsection 552, I am requesting access to, or copies of, [identify the records as clearly and specifically as possible]. If there are any fees for processing this request, please let me know before you fulfill it. [Or: Please supply the records without informing me of the cost if the fees do not exceed $ ______, which I agree to pay.]

Optional: I am requesting this information because [state the reason(s) if you think it will help you obtain the information].

Optional: If you have any questions about handling this request, you may call me at __________.
Sincerely,

Name
Address

Privacy Act

What is the Privacy Act?
The federal government compiles a wide range of information on individuals. For example, if you were ever in the military or employed by a Federal agency, there should be records of your service. If you have ever applied for a Federal grant or received a student loan guaranteed by the government, you are probably the subject of a file. There are records on every individual who has ever paid income taxes or received a check from Social Security or Medicare.

The Privacy Act, passed by Congress in 1974, establishes certain controls over what personal information is collected by the federal government and how it is used. The Act guarantees three primary rights: (1) the right to see records about yourself, subject to the Privacy Act's exemptions, (2) the right to amend that record if it is inaccurate, irrelevant, untimely, or incomplete, and (3) the right to sue the government for violations of the statute, including permitting others to see your records except as specifically permitted by the Act.

The Privacy Act also provides for certain limitations on agency information practices, such as requiring that information about a person be collected directly from that person to the greatest practical extent; requiring agencies to ensure that their records are relevant, accurate, timely, and complete; and prohibiting agencies from maintaining information describing how an individual exercises his or her First Amendment rights unless the individual consents to it, a statute permits it, or it is within the scope of an authorized law enforcement investigation.

What information may I request under the Privacy Act?
The Privacy Act applies only to documents about individuals maintained by agencies in the executive branch of the Federal government. It applies to these records only if they are in a "system of records," which means they are retrieved by an individual's name, social security number, or some other personal identifier. In other words, the Privacy Act does not apply to information about individuals in records that are filed under other subjects, such as organizations or events, unless the agency also indexes and retrieves them by individual names or other personal identifiers. Like the FOIA, the Privacy Act mainly applies to records held by Federal agencies.

There are 10 exemptions to the Privacy Act under which an agency can withhold certain kinds of information from you. Examples of exempt records are those that contain classified information on national security or criminal investigations. Another exemption protects information that would identify a confidential source. For example, if an investigator questions someone about your qualifications for Federal employment, and that person agrees to answer only if his or her identity is protected, then an agency can withhold that person's name or any identifying information. The 10 exemptions are set out in the Act.

If you are interested in more details, you should read the Privacy Act in its entirety. You can also read more about the Act at this U.S. Department of Justice page. It is printed in the U.S. Code (Section 552a of Title 5), which can be found in many public and school libraries.

How do I submit a Privacy Act request to AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps’ FOIA Officer also handles all Privacy Act requests, and Privacy Act requests can be submitted in the same ways as FOIA requests. Please see the FOIA section above for specific information.

How do I know if an agency has a file on me?
If you think AmeriCorps has a file pertaining to you, you may write to the FOIA Officer. Agencies are generally required to inform you, when you ask, whether they have files on you. In addition, agencies are required to report publicly the existence of all systems of records they keep on individuals. The Office of the Federal Register publishes a listing of each agency's systems of records notices, including exemptions, as well as its Privacy Act regulations. 

What information do I have to provide to AmeriCorps to receive information?
Like other agencies, AmeriCorps requires some proof of identity before we will give you your records. This is intended to protect information about you from unauthorized release to someone other than you. Therefore, we recommend that you enclose proof of identity (such as a copy of your driver's license or other government-issued identification) with your full name and address. Do not send the original documents. Remember to sign your request for information, since your signature is a form of identification. If we need more proof of identity before releasing your files, we will let you know. Give as much information as possible as to why you believe AmeriCorps has records about you.

What about costs for getting records under the Privacy Act?
Under the Privacy Act, agencies can charge only for the cost of copying records for you, not for time spent locating them.

How long will it take to answer my request?
Under the terms of the Privacy Act, agencies are not required to reply to a request within a specific period of time. However, AmeriCorps will reply as quickly as it is able if it has the requested records in its own possession. For records that are in storage, we will acknowledge your request within ten workdays and send you the actual records as soon as possible. If you do not receive any response within four weeks or so, you might wish to write again, enclosing a copy of your original request.

What if I find that AmeriCorps has incorrect information about me in its records?
The Privacy Act requires that, if an agency maintains personal information about individuals, it must keep those files complete, accurate, timely, and relevant. If, after you see your file, you believe it contains incorrect information, you may write to AmeriCorps’ FOIA Officer and ask to have the information corrected. Include all pertinent documentation for each change you are requesting. We will tell you if we need further proof. The Privacy Act requires agencies to notify you within ten working days that they have received your amendment request.

If AmeriCorps grants your request for amendment, it will tell you exactly what it will do to amend the record. If AmeriCorps denies the request for the amendment, you may appeal that decision. Even if AmeriCorps denies your appeal, you have the right to submit a statement that explains why you think the record is wrong, and the agency must attach your statement to the relevant record. AmeriCorps must also tell you of your right to go to court and have a judge review the denial of your appeal.

What can I do if I am denied information requested under the Privacy Act?
There is no required procedure for Privacy Act appeals, but AmeriCorps will advise you of its own appeal procedure if it denies part or all of your request. If AmeriCorps denies your appeal, you may take the matter to court. If you win your case, you may be awarded court costs and attorney's fees.

Comparison of the FOIA and the Privacy Act

Although the two laws were enacted for different purposes, there is some similarity in their provisions. This chart outlines some of them:

A Comparison of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act

Freedom of Information Act

Privacy Act

Access rights

To “any person”

Only for the individual who is the subject of the records sought

Applicable records

All records of Federal agencies

Federal agency records in "systems of records" which contain information about an individual and are retrieved by the use of a name or other personal identifier

Fees

Depend on the nature of the requester and range from none to charges for search, review, and copying.

Only for copying records

Response time

20 business days for simple requests, 30 days for complex requests, and requesters may ask for expedited handling (though agencies are not required to grant it)

Generally, within 10 business days, or, in the case of records stored off-site, agencies acknowledge the request within 10 workdays

Exemptions
If you request records about yourself under both laws, Federal agencies may withhold the records from you only to the extent the records are exempt under both laws.

See Department of Justice guidance on FOIA exemptions.

See Department of Justice guidance on Privacy Act exemptions.

Which Act to use?
If you aren’t sure which law applies or would better suit your needs, you may refer to both in your request letter.

If you want information about the activities of Federal agencies or of another person, make your request under the FOIA, which covers all agency records. You can also use the FOIA to get records about yourself that are not in a Privacy Act "system of records"

If the information you want is about yourself and you wish to avoid possible search fees, make your request under the Privacy Act, which covers most agency records that are about individuals

FOIA Regulations

CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE (now operating as AmeriCorps)
Freedom of Information Act Regulation and Implementation of Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996

PART 2507 -- PROCEDURES FOR DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
Sec.
2507.1 Definitions
2507.2 What is the purpose of this part?
2507.3 What types of records are available for disclosure to the public?
2507.4 How are requests for records made?
2507.5 How does the Corporation process requests for records?
2507.6 Under what circumstances may the Corporation extend the time limits for an initial response?
2507.7 How does a one appeal the Corporation's denial of access to records?
2507.8 How are fees determined?
2507.9 What records will be denied disclosure under this part?
2507.10 What records are specifically exempt from disclosure?
2507.11 What are the procedures for the release of commercial business information?
2507.12 Authority.
Appendix A to Part 2507 - Freedom of Information Act Request Letter (Sample)
Appendix B to Part 2507 - Freedom of Information Act Appeal for Release of Information (Sample)

§ 2507.1 Definitions
As used in this part, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) Act means section 552 of Title 5, United States Code, sometimes referred to as the "Freedom of Information Act", and Pub.L. 104-231, 110 Stat. 3048, sometimes referred to as the "Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996."

(b) Agency means any executive department, military department, government corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Federal Government, or any independent regulatory agency. Thus, the Corporation is a Federal agency.

(c) Commercial use request means a request from, or on behalf of, a person who seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is made. The use to which the requester will put the records sought will be considered in determining whether the request is a commercial use request.

(d) Corporation means the Corporation for National and Community Service. 

(e) Educational institution means a pre-school, elementary or secondary school, institution of undergraduate or graduate higher education, or institution of professional or vocational education, which operates a program of scholarly research.

(f) Electronic data means records and information (including e-mail) which are created, stored, and retrievable by electronic means.

(g) Freedom of Information Act Officer (FOIA Officer) means the Corporation official who has been delegated the authority to make the initial determination on whether to release or withhold records, and to assess, waive, or reduce fees in response to FOIA requests.

(h) Non-commercial scientific institution means an institution that is not operated substantially for purposes of furthering its own or someone else's business trade, or profit interests, and that is operated for purposes of conducting scientific research whose results are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.

(i) Public interest means the interest in obtaining official information that sheds light on an agency's performance of its statutory duties because the information falls within the statutory purpose of the FOIA to inform citizens about what their government is doing.

(j) Record includes books, brochures, electronic mail messages, punch cards, magnetic tapes, cards, discs, paper tapes, audio or video recordings, maps, pamphlets, photographs, slides, microfilm, and motion pictures, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by the Corporation pursuant to Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved by the Corporation as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, programs, or other activities. Record does not include objects or articles such as tangible exhibits, models, equipment, or processing materials; or formulas, designs, drawings, or other items of valuable property. Record does not include books, magazines, pamphlets or other materials acquired solely for reference purposes. Record does not include personal records of an individual not subject to agency creation or retention requirements, created and maintained primarily for the convenience of an agency employee, and not distributed to other agency employees for their official use. Record does not include information stored within a computer for which there is no existing computer program for retrieval of the requested information. A record must exist and be in the possession and control of the Corporation at the time of the request to be considered subject to this part and the FOIA. There is no obligation to create, compile, or obtain a record to satisfy a FOIA request. See § 2507.5(d) with respect to creating a record in the electronic environment.

(k) Representative of the news media means a person who is actively gathering information for an entity organized to publish, broadcast or otherwise disseminate news to the public. News media entities include television and radio broadcasters, publishers of periodicals who distribute their products to the general public or who make their products available for purchase or subscription by the general public, and entities that may disseminate news through other media (e.g., electronic dissemination of text). Freelance journalists will be treated as representatives of a new media entity if they can show a likelihood of publication through such an entity. A publication contract would be the clearest proof, but the Corporation may also look to the past publication record of a requester in making this determination.

(l) FOIA request means a written request for Corporation records, made by any person, including a member of the public (U.S. or foreign citizen), an organization, or a business, but not including a Federal agency, an order from a court, or a fugitive from the law, that either explicitly or implicitly involves the FOIA, or this part. Written requests may be received by postal service or by facsimile.

(m) Review means the process of examining records located in response to a request to determine whether any record or portion of a record is permitted to be withheld. It also includes processing records for disclosure (i.e., excising portions not subject to disclosure under the Act and otherwise preparing them for release). Review does not include time spent resolving legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions under the Act.

(n) Search means looking for records or portions of records responsive to a request. It includes reading and interpreting a request, and also page-by-page and line-by-line examination to identify responsive portions of a document. However, it does not include line-by-line examination where merely duplicating the entire page would be a less expensive and quicker way to comply with the request.

§ 2507.2 What is the purpose of this part?
The purpose of this part is to prescribe rules for the inspection and release of records of the Corporation for National and Community Service pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended. Information customarily furnished to the public in the regular course of the Corporation's official business, whether hard copy or electronic records which are available to the public through an established distribution system, or through the Federal Register, the National Technical Information Service, or the Internet, may continue to be furnished without processing under the provisions of the FOIA or complying with this part.

§ 2507.3 What types of records are available for disclosure to the public?
(a) (1) The Corporation will make available to any member of the public who requests them, the following Corporation records:

  • All publications and other documents provided by the Corporation to the public in the normal course of agency business will continue to be made available upon request to the Corporation;
  • Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the adjudication of administrative cases;
  • Statements of policy and interpretation adopted by the agency and not published in the Federal Register;
  • Administrative staff manuals and instructions to the staff that affect a member of the public; and
  • Copies of all records, regardless of form or format, which, because of the nature of their subject matter, the agency determines have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records.

(2) Copies of a current index of the materials in paragraphs a(1)(i) through (v) of this section that are maintained by the Corporation, or any portion thereof, will be furnished or made available for inspection upon request.

(b) To the extent necessary to prevent a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, the Corporation may delete identifying details from materials furnished under this part.

(c) Brochures, leaflets, and other similar published materials shall be furnished to the public on request to the extent they are available. Copies of any such materials which are out of print shall be furnished to the public at the cost of duplication, provided, however, that, in the event no copy exists, the Corporation shall not be responsible for reprinting the document.

(d) All records of the Corporation which are requested by a member of the public in accordance with the procedures established in this part shall be duplicated for the requester, except to the extent that the Corporation determines that such records are exempt from disclosure under the Act.

(e) The Corporation will not be required to create new records, compile lists of selected items from its files, or provide a requester with statistical or other data (unless such data has been compiled previously and is available in the form of a record.)

(f) These records will be made available for public inspection and copying in the Corporation's reading room located at the Corporation for National and Community Service, 1201 New York Avenue, NW., Room 8200, Washington, D.C., 20525, during the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on official holidays.

(g) Corporation records will be made available to the public unless it is determined that such records should be withheld from disclosure under subsection 552(b) of the Act and or in accordance with this part.

§ 2507.4 How are requests for records made?
(a) How made and addressed. (1) Requests for Corporation records under the Act must be made in writing, and can be mailed, hand-delivered, or received by facsimile, to the FOIA Officer, Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the General Counsel, 1201 New York Avenue, N.W., Room 8200, Washington, D.C. 20525. (See Appendix A for an example of a FOIA request) All such requests, and the envelopes in which they are sent, must be plainly marked "FOIA Request". Hand-delivered requests will be received between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on official holidays. Although the Corporation maintains offices throughout the continental United States, all FOIA requests must be submitted to the Corporation's Headquarters office in Washington, DC.
(2) Corporation records that are available in the Corporation reading room will also be made available for public access through the Corporation's "electronic reading room" internet site under "Resource Links". The following address is the Corporation's Internet Web site: https://americorps.gov.  

(b) Request must adequately describe the records sought. A request must describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable Corporation personnel to locate the records with reasonable effort, and without unreasonable burden to or disruption of Corporation operations. Among the kinds of identifying information which a requester may provide are the following:

  1. The name of the specific program within the Corporation which may have produced or may have custody of the record (e.g., AmeriCorps*State/National Direct, AmeriCorps*NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps), AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), Learn and Serve America, National Senior Service Corps (NSSC), Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Foster Grandparent Program (FGP), Senior Companion Program (SCP), and HUD Hope VI);
  2. The specific event or action, if any, to which the record pertains;
  3. The date of the record, or an approximate time period to which it refers or relates;
  4. The type of record (e.g. contract, grant or report);
  5. The name(s) of Corporation personnel who may have prepared or been referenced in the record; and
  6. Citation to newspapers or other publications which refer to the record.

(c) Agreement to pay fees. The filing of a request under this section shall be deemed to constitute an agreement by the requester to pay all applicable fees, up to $25.00, unless a waiver of fees is sought in the request letter. When filing a request, a requester may agree to pay a greater amount, if applicable. (See § 2507.8 for further information on fees)

§ 2507.5 How does the Corporation process requests for records?
(a) Initial processing. Upon receipt of a request for agency records, the FOIA Officer will make an initial determination as to whether the requester has reasonably described the records being sought with sufficient specificity to determine which Corporation office may have possession of the requested records. The office head or his or her designees shall determine whether the description of the record(s) requested is sufficient to permit a determination as to existence, identification, and location. It is the responsibility of the FOIA Officer to provide guidance and assistance to the Corporation staff regarding all FOIA policies and procedures. All requests for records under the control and jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General will be forwarded to the Inspector General, through the FOIA Officer, for the Corporation's initial determination and reply to the requester.

(b) Insufficiently identified records. On making a determination that the description contained in the request does not reasonably describe the records being sought, the FOIA Officer shall promptly advise the requester in writing or by telephone if possible. The FOIA Officer shall provide the requester with appropriate assistance to help the requester provide any additional information which would better identify the record. The requester may submit an amended request providing the necessary additional identifying information. Receipt of an amended request shall start a new 20-day period in which the Corporation will respond to the request.

(c) Furnishing records. The Corporation is required to furnish only copies of what it has or can retrieve. It is not compelled to create new records or do statistical computations. For example, the Corporation is not required to write a new program so that a computer will print information in a special format. However, if the requested information is maintained in computerized form, and it is possible, without inconvenience or unreasonable burden, to produce the information on paper, the Corporation will do this if this is the only feasible way to respond to a request. The Corporation is not required to perform any research for the requester. The Corporation reserves the right to make a decision to conserve government resources and at the same time supply the records requested by consolidating information from various records rather than duplicating all of them. For example, if it requires less time and expense to provide a computer record as a paper printout rather than in an electronic medium, the Corporation will provide the printout. The Corporation is only required to furnish one copy of a record.

(d) Format of the disclosure of a record. The requester, not the Corporation, will be entitled to choose the form of disclosure when multiple forms of a record already exist. Any further request for a record to be disclosed in a new form or format will have to be considered by the Corporation, on a case-by-case basis, to determine whether the records are "readily reproducible" in that form or format with "reasonable efforts" on the part of the Corporation. The Corporation shall make reasonable efforts to maintain its records in forms or formats that are reproducible for purposes of replying to a FOIA request.

(e) Release of record. Upon receipt of a request specifically identifying existing Corporation records, the Corporation shall, within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays), either grant or deny the request in whole or in part, as provided in this section. Any notice of denial in whole or in part shall require the FOIA Officer to inform the requester of his/her right to appeal the denial, in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 2507.7. If the FOIA Officer determines that a request describes a requested record sufficiently to permit its identification, he/she shall make it available unless he/she determines, as appropriate, to withhold the record as being exempt from mandatory disclosure under the Act.

(f) Form and content of notice granting a request. The Corporation shall provide written notice of a determination to grant access within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of receipt of the request. This will be done either by providing a copy of the record to the requester or by making the record available for inspection at a reasonable time and place. If the record cannot be provided at the time of the initial response, the Corporation shall make such records available promptly. Records disclosed in part shall be marked or annotated to show both the amount and the location of the information deleted wherever practicable.

(g) Form and content of notice denying request. The Corporation shall notify the requester in writing of the denial of access within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays), of receipt of the request. Such notice shall include:

  1. The name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial;
  2. A brief statement of the reason(s) for denial, including the specific exemption(s) under the Act on which the Corporation has relied in denying each document that was requested;
  3. A statement that the denial may be appealed under § 2507.7, and a description of the requirements of that § 2507.7;
  4. An estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if the volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part, or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption.

§ 2507.6 Under what circumstances may AmeriCorps extend the time limits for an initial response?
The time limits specified for the Corporation's initial response in § 2507.5, and for its determination on an appeal in § 2507.7, may be extended by the Corporation upon written notice to the requester which sets forth the reasons for such extension and the date upon which the Corporation will respond to the request. Such extension may be applied at either the initial response stage or the appeal stage, or both, provided the aggregate of such extensions shall not exceed ten working days. Circumstances justifying an extension under this section may include the following:
(a) Time necessary to search for and collect requested records from field offices of the Corporation;

(b) Time necessary to locate, collect and review voluminous records; or

(c) Time necessary for consultation with another agency having an interest in the request; or among two or more offices of AmeriCorps which have an interest in the request; or with a submitter of business information having an interest in the request.

§ 2507.7 How does one appeal AmeriCorps’ denial of access to records?
(a) Right of appeal. A requester has the right to appeal a partial or full denial of a FOIA request. The appeal must be put in writing and sent to the reviewing official identified in the denial letter. The requester must send the appeal within 60 days of the letter denying the appeal.

(b) Contents of appeal. The written appeal may include as much or as little information as the requester wishes for the basis of the appeal.

(c) Review process. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is the designated official to act on all FOIA appeals. The COO's determination of an appeal constitutes the Corporation's final action. If the appeal is granted, in whole or in part, the records will be made available for inspection or sent to the requester, promptly, unless a reasonable delay is justified. If the appeal is denied, in whole or in part, the COO will state the reasons for the decision in writing, providing notice of the right to judicial review. A decision will be made on the appeal within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays), from the date the appeal was received by the COO.

(d) When appeal is required. If a requester wishes to seek review by a court of an unfavorable determination, an appeal must first be submitted under this section.

§ 2507.8 How are fees determined?
(a) Policy. It is the policy of the Corporation to provide the widest possible access to releasable Corporation records at the least possible cost. The purpose of the request is relevant to the fees charged.

(b) Types of Request. Fees will be determined by category of requests as follows:

  1. Commercial use requests. When a request for records is made for commercial use, charges will be assessed to cover the costs of searching for, reviewing for release, and reproducing the records sought.
  2. Requests for educational and non-commercial scientific institutions. When a request for records is made by an educational or non-commercial scientific institution in furtherance of scholarly or scientific research, respectively, charges may be assessed to cover the cost of reproduction alone, excluding charges for reproduction of the first 100 pages. Whenever the total fee calculated is $18.00 or less, no fee shall be charged.
  3. Requests from representatives of the news media. When a request for records is made by a representative of the news media for the purpose of news dissemination, charges may be assessed to cover the cost of reproduction alone, excluding the charges for reproduction of the first 100 pages. Whenever the total fee calculated is $18.00 or less, no fee shall be charged.
  4. Other requests. When other requests for records are made which do not fit the three preceding categories, charges will be assessed to cover the costs of searching for and reproducing the records sought, excluding charges for the first two hours of search time and for reproduction of the first 100 pages. (However, requests from individuals for records about themselves contained in the Agency's systems of records will be treated under the fee provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), which permit the assessment of fees for reproduction costs only, regardless of the requester's characterization of the request). Whenever the total fee calculated is $18.00 or less, no fee shall be charged to the requester.

(c) Direct costs. Fees assessed shall provide only for recovery of the Corporation's direct costs of search, review, and reproduction. Review costs shall include only the direct costs incurred during the initial examination of a record for the purposes of determining whether a record must be disclosed under this part and whether any portion of a record is exempt from disclosure under this part. Review costs shall not include any costs incurred in resolving legal or policy issues raised in the course of processing a request or an appeal under this part.

(d) Charging of fees. The following charges may be assessed for copies of records provided to a requester:

  1. Copies made by photostat shall be charged at the rate of $0.10 per page.
  2. Searches for requested records performed by clerical/administrative personnel shall be charged at the rate of $4.00 per quarter hour.
  3. Where a search for requested records cannot be performed by clerical administrative personnel (for example, where the tasks of identifying and compiling records responsive to a request must be performed by a skilled technician or professional), such search shall be charged at the rate of $7.00 per quarter hour.
  4. Where the time of managerial personnel is required, the fee shall be $10.25 for each quarter hour of time spent by such managerial personnel.
  5. Computer searches for requested records shall be charged at a rate commensurate with the combined cost of computer operation and operator's salary attributable to the search.
  6. Charges for non-release. Charges may be assessed for search and review time, even if the Corporation fails to locate records responsive to a request or if records located are determined to be exempt from disclosure.

(e) Consent to pay fees. In the event that a request for records does not state that the requester will pay all reasonable costs, or costs up to a specified dollar amount, and the FOIA Officer determines that the anticipated assessable costs for search, review and reproduction of requested records will exceed $25.00, or will exceed the limit specified in the request, the requester shall be promptly notified in writing. Such notification shall state the anticipated assessable costs of search, review and reproduction of records requested. The requester shall be afforded an opportunity to amend the request to narrow the scope of the request, or, alternatively, may agree to be responsible for paying the anticipated costs. Such a request shall be deemed to have been received by the Corporation upon the date of receipt of the amended request.

(f) Advance payment.

  1. Advance payment of assessable fees are not required from a requester unless:
    • The Corporation estimates or determines that assessable charges are likely to exceed $250.00, and the requester has no history of payment of FOIA fees. (Where the requester has a history of prompt payment of fees, the Corporation shall notify the requester of the likely cost and obtain written assurance of full payment.)
    • A requester has previously failed to pay a FOIA fee charged in a timely fashion (i.e., within 30 days of the date of the billing).
  2. When the Corporation acts under paragraphs (g)(1)(i) or (ii) of this section, the administrative time limits prescribed in § 2507.5(a)and (b) will begin to run only after the Corporation has received fee payments or assurances.

(g) Interest on non-payment. Interest charges on an unpaid bill may be assessed starting on the 31st day following the day on which the billing was sent. Interest will be assessed at the rate prescribed in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the date of the billing. The Corporation may use the authorization of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended, and its administrative procedures, including disclosure to consumer reporting agencies and the use of collection agencies, to encourage payment of delinquent fees.

(h) Aggregating requests. Where the Corporation reasonably believes that a requester or a group of requesters acting together is attempting to divide a request into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding fees, the Corporation may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly. The Corporation may presume that multiple requests of this type made within a 30-day period have been made in order to avoid fees. Where requests are separated by a longer period, the Corporation will aggregate them only where there exists a solid basis for determining that aggregation is warranted under the circumstances involved. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.

  1. Making payment. Payment of fees shall be forwarded to the FOIA Officer by check or money order payable to "Corporation for National and Community Service". A receipt for any fees paid will be provided upon written request.

(j) Fee processing. No fee shall be charged if the administrative costs of collection and processing of such fees are equal to or do not exceed the amount of the fee.

(k) Waiver or reduction of fees. A requester may, in the original request, or subsequently, apply for a waiver or reduction of document search, review and reproduction fees. Such application shall be in writing and shall set forth in detail the reason(s) a fee waiver or reduction should be granted. The amount of any reduction requested shall be specified in the request. Upon receipt of such a request, the FOIA Officer will determine whether a fee waiver or reduction should be granted.

  1. A waiver or reduction of fees shall be granted only if release of the requested information to the requester is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Corporation, and it is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. The Corporation shall consider the following factors in determining whether a waiver or reduction of fees will be granted:
    • Does the requested information concern the operations or activities of the Corporation?
    • If so, will disclosure of the information be likely to contribute to public understanding of the Corporation's operations and activities?
    • If so, would such a contribution be significant?
    • Does the requester have a commercial interest that would be furthered by disclosure of the information?
    • If so, is the magnitude of the identified commercial interest of the requester sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester?
  2. In applying the criteria in paragraph (k)(1) of this section, the Corporation will weigh the requester's commercial interest against any public interest in disclosure. Where there is a public interest in disclosure, and that interest can fairly be regarded as being of greater magnitude than the requester's commercial interest, a fee waiver or reduction may be granted.
  3. When a fee waiver application has been included in a request for records, the request shall not be considered officially received until a determination is made regarding the fee waiver application. Such determination shall be made within five working days from the date any such request is received in writing by AmeriCorps.

§ 2507.9 What records will be denied disclosure under this part?
Since the policy of the Corporation is to make the maximum amount of information available to the public consistent with its other responsibilities, written requests for a Corporation record made under the provisions of the FOIA may be denied when:
(a) The record is subject to one or more of the exemptions of the FOIA.

(b) The record has not been described clearly enough to enable the Corporation staff to locate it within a reasonable amount of effort by an employee familiar with the files.

(c) The requestor has failed to comply with the procedural requirements, including the agreement to pay any required fee.

(d) For other reasons as required by law, rule, regulation or policy.

§ 2507.10 What records are specifically exempt from disclosure?
Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be provided to any person requesting such record after deletion of portions which are exempt under this section. The following categories are examples of records maintained by the Corporation which, under the provision of 5 U.S.C. 552(b), are exempted from disclosure:
(a) Records required to be withheld under criteria established by an Executive Order in the interest of national defense and policy and which are in fact properly classified pursuant to any such Executive Order. Included in this category are records required by Executive Order No. 12958 (3 CFR 1995 Comp. p. 333), as amended, to be classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.

(b) Records related solely to internal personnel rules and practices. Included in this category are internal rules and regulations relating to personnel management operations which cannot be disclosed to the public without substantial prejudice to the effective performance of significant functions of the Corporation.

(c) Records specifically exempted from disclosure by statute.
(d) Information of a commercial or financial nature including trade secrets given in confidence. Included in this category are records containing commercial or financial information obtained from any person and customarily regarded as privileged and confidential by the person from whom they were obtained.

(e) Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than a party in litigation with the Corporation. Included in this category are memoranda, letters, inter-agency and intra-agency communications and internal drafts, opinions and interpretations prepared by staff or consultants and records meant to be used as part of deliberations by staff, or ordinarily used in arriving at policy determinations and decisions.

(f) Personnel, medical and similar files. Included in this category are personnel and medical information files of staff, individual national service applicants and participants, lists of names and home addresses, and other files or material containing private or personal information, the public disclosure of which would amount to a clearly unwarranted invasion of the privacy of any person to whom the information pertains.

(g) Investigatory files. Included in this category are files compiled for the enforcement of all laws, or prepared in connection with government litigation and adjudicative proceedings, provided however, that such records shall be made available to the extent that their production will not:

  1. Interfere with enforcement proceedings;
  2. Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;
  3. Constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
  4. Disclose the identity of a confidential source, and in the case of a record compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished by confidential source;
  5. Disclose investigative techniques and procedures; or
  6. Endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel.

§ 2507.11 What are the procedures for the release of commercial business information?
(a) Notification of business submitter. The Corporation shall promptly notify a business submitter of any request for Corporation records containing business information. The notice shall either specifically describe the nature of the business information requested or provide copies of the records, or portions thereof containing the business information.

(b) Business submitter reply. The Corporation shall afford a business submitter 10 working days to object to disclosure, and to provide the Corporation with a written statement specifying the grounds and arguments why the information should be withheld under Exemption (b)(4) of the Act.

(c) Considering and balancing respective interests.

  1. The Corporation shall carefully consider and balance the business submitter's objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure against such factors as:
    • The general custom or usage in the occupation or business to which the information relates that it be held confidential; and
    • The number and situation of the individuals who have access to such information; and
    • The type and degree of risk of financial injury to be expected if disclosure occurs; and
    • The length of time such information should be regarded as retaining the characteristics noted in paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section in determining whether to release the requested business information.
  2. Whenever the Corporation decides to disclose business information over the objection of a business submitter, the Corporation shall forward to the business submitter a written notice of such decision, which shall include:
    • The name, and title or position, of the person responsible for denying the submitter's objection;
    • A statement of the reasons why the business submitter's objection was not sustained;
    • A description of the business information to be disclosed; and
    • A specific disclosure date.
      • The notice of intent to disclose business information shall be mailed by the Corporation not less than six working days prior to the date upon which disclosure will occur, with a copy of such notice to the requester.

(d) When notice to business submitter is not required. The notice to business submitter shall not apply if:

  1. The Corporation determines that the information shall not be disclosed;
  2. The information has previously been published or otherwise lawfully been made available to the public; or
  3. Disclosure of the information is required by law (other than 5 U.S.C. 552).

(e) Notice of suit for release. Whenever a requester brings suit to compel disclosure of business information, the Corporation shall promptly notify the business submitter.

§ 2507.12 Authority.
The Corporation receives authority to change its governing regulations from the National and Community Service Act of 1990, as amended (42 U.S.C. 12501 et seq.).
 
Appendix A to Part 2507 - Freedom of Information Act Request Letter (Sample)
Freedom of Information Act Officer
Name of agency
Address of agency
City, State, Zip code

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request.
Dear _______________:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I request that a copy of the following documents [or documents containing the following information] be provided to me: [identify the documents or information as specifically as possible].
[Sample requester descriptions]
- a representative of the news media affiliated with the _________ newspaper (magazine, television station, etc.) and this request is made as part of news gathering and not for commercial use.
- affiliated with an educational or non-commercial scientific institution, and this request is not for commercial use.
- an individual seeking information for personal use and not for commercial use.
- affiliated with a private corporation and am seeking information for use in the company's business.
[Optional] I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of $_______. If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please inform me first.
[Optional] I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of government and is not primarily in my commercial interest. [Include a specific explanation.]
In order to help you determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am (insert a suitable description of the requester and the purpose of the request).
Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Name
Address
City, State, Zip code
Telephone number (optional)
 
Appendix B to Part 2507- Freedom of Information Act Appeal for Release of Information (Sample)
Appeal Officer
Name of agency
Address of agency
City, State, Zip code

Re: Freedom of Information Act Appeal.
Dear ______________:
This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act.
On (date), I requested documents under the Freedom of Information Act. My request was assigned the following identification number ______________. On (date), I received a response to my request in a letter signed by (name of official). I appeal the denial of my request.
[Optional] The documents that were withheld must be disclosed under the FOIA because....
[Optional] Respond for waiver of fees. I appeal the decision to deny my request for a waiver of fees. I believe that I am entitled to a waiver of fees. Disclosure of the documents I requested is in the public interest because the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operation or activities of government and is not primarily in my commercial interest. (Provide details)
[Optional] I appeal the decision to require me to pay review costs for this request. I am not seeking the documents for a commercial use. (Provide details)
(Optional] I appeal the decision to require me to pay search charges for this request. I am a reporter seeking information as part of news gathering and not for commercial use.
Thank you for your consideration of this appeal.

Sincerely,
Name
Address
City, State, Zip code
Email address

Privacy Act Regulations

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974
45 CFR PART 2508
EFFECTIVE MAY 20, 1999

Sec.
2508.1 Definitions.
2508.2 What is the purpose of this part?
2508.3 What is the Corporation's Privacy Act policy?
2508.4 When can Corporation records be disclosed?
2508.5 When does the Corporation publish its notice of its system of records?
2508.6 When will the Corporation publish a notice for new routine uses of information in its system of records?
2508.7 To Whom does the Corporation provide reports to regarding changes in its system of records?
2508.8 Who is responsible for establishing the Corporation's rules of conduct for Privacy Act compliance?
2508.9 What officials are responsible for the security, management and control of Corporation record keeping systems?
2508.10 Who has the responsibility for maintaining adequate technical, physical, and security safeguards to prevent unauthorized disclosure or destruction of manual and automatic record systems?
2508.11 How shall offices maintaining a system of records be accountable for those records to prevent unauthorized disclosure of information?
2508.12 What are the contents of the systems of records that are to be maintained by the Corporation?
2508.13 What are the procedures for acquiring access to Corporation records by an individual about whom a record is maintained?
2508.14 What are the identification requirements for individuals who request access to records?
2508.15 What are the procedures for requesting inspection of, amendment or correction to, or appeal of an individual=s records maintained by the Corporation other than that individual's official personnel file?
2508.16 What are the procedures for filing an appeal for refusal to amend or correct records?
2508.17 When shall fees be charged and at what rate?
2508.18 What are the penalties for obtaining a record under false pretenses?
2508.19 What Privacy Act exemptions or control of systems of records are exempt from disclosure?
2508.20 What are the restrictions regarding the release of mailing lists?
Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a; 42 U.S.C. 12501 et seq; 42 U.S.C. 4950 et seq.

§ 2508.1 Definitions
(a) Amend means to make a correction to, or expunge any portion of, a record about an individual which that individual believes is not accurate, relevant, timely, or complete.

(b) Appeal Officer means the individual delegated the responsibility to act on all appeals filed under the Privacy Act.

(c) Chief Executive Officer means the Head of the Corporation.

(d) Corporation means the Corporation for National and Community Service.

(e) Individual means any citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

(f) Maintain means to collect, use, store, disseminate or any combination of these record-keeping functions; exercise of control over and therefore, responsibility and accountability for, systems of records.

(g) Personnel record means any information about an individual that is maintained in a system of records by the Corporation that is needed for personnel management or processes such as staffing, employment development, retirement, grievances, and appeals.

(h) Privacy Act Office means the individual delegated the authority to allow access to, the release of, or the withholding of records pursuant to an official Privacy Act request. The Privacy Act Officer is further delegated the authority to make the initial determination on all requests to amend records.

(i) Record means any document or other information about an individual maintained by the agency whether collected or grouped, and including, but not limited to, information regarding education, financial transactions, medical history, criminal or employment history, or any other personal information that contains the name or other personal identification number, symbol, etc. assigned to such individual.

(j) Routine use means, with respect to the disclosure of a record, the use of such record for a purpose which is compatible with the purpose for which it was collected.

(k) System of records means a group of any records under the maintenance and control of the Corporation from which information is retrieved by use of the name of an individual or by some personal identifier of the individual.

§ 2508.2 What is the purpose of this part?
The purpose of this part is to set forth the basic policies of the Corporation governing the maintenance of its system of records which contains personal information concerning its employees as defined in the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a). Records included in this part are those described in aforesaid act and maintained by the Corporation and/or any component thereof.

§ 2508.3 What is the Corporation's Privacy Act policy?
It is the policy of the Corporation to protect, preserve, and defend the right of privacy of any individual about whom the Corporation maintains personal information in any system of records and to provide appropriate and complete access to such records including adequate opportunity to correct any errors in said records. Further, it is the policy of the Corporation to maintain its records in such a manner that the information contained therein is, and remains material and relevant to the purposes for which it is received in order to maintain its records with fairness to the individuals who are the subjects of such records.

§ 2508.4 When can Corporation records be disclosed?
(a) (1) The Corporation will not disclose any record that is contained in its system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of the individual to whom the record pertains, unless disclosure of the record would be:
(i) To employees of the Corporation who maintain the record and who have a need for the record in the performance of their official duties;
(ii) When required under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552);
(iii) For routine uses as appropriately published in the annual notice of the Federal Register;
(iv) To the Bureau of the Census for purposes of planning or carrying out a census or survey or related activity pursuant to the provisions of title 13;
(v) To a recipient who has provided the Corporation with advance adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical research or reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable;
(vi) To the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the United States Government, or for evaluation by the Archivist of the United States or the designee of the Archivist to determine whether the record has such value;
(vii) To another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law, and if the head of the agency or instrumentality has made a written request to the Corporation for such records specifying the particular portion desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought. Such a record may also be disclosed by the Corporation to the law enforcement agency on its own initiative in situations in which criminal conduct is suspected provided that such disclosure has been established as a routine use or in situations in which the misconduct is directly related to the purpose for which the record is maintained;
(viii) To a person pursuant to a showing of compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of any individual if, upon such disclosure, notification is transmitted to the last known address of such individual;
(ix) To either House of Congress, or, to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, any committee or subcommittee thereof, any joint committee of Congress or subcommittee of any such joint committee;
(x) To the Comptroller General or any of his or her authorized representatives, in the course of the performance of official duties in the General Accounting Office;
(xi) Pursuant to an order of a court of competent jurisdiction served upon the Corporation pursuant to 45 CFR 1201.3, and provided that if any such record is disclosed under such compulsory legal process and subsequently made public by the court which issued it, the Corporation must make a reasonable effort to notify the individual to whom the record pertains of such disclosure;
(xii) To a contractor, expert, or consultant of the Corporation (or an office within the Corporation) when the purpose of the release to perform a survey, audit, or other review of the Corporation's procedures and operations; and
(xiii) To a consumer reporting agency in accordance with section 3711(f) of title 31.

§ 2508.5 When does the Corporation publish its notice of its system of records?
The Corporation shall publish annually a notice of its system of records maintained by it as defined herein in the format prescribed by the General Services Administration in the Federal Register; provided, however, that such publication shall not be made for those systems of records maintained by other agencies while in the temporary custody of the Corporation.

§ 2508.6 When will the Corporation publish a notice for new routine uses of information in its system of records?
At least 30 days prior to publication of information under the preceding section, the Corporation shall publish in the Federal Register a notice of its intention to establish any new routine use of any system of records maintained by it with an opportunity for public comments on such use. Such notice shall contain the following:
(a) The name of the system of records for which the routine use is to be established.
(b) The authority for the system.
(c) The purpose for which the record is to be maintained.
(d) The proposed routine use(s).
(e) The purpose of the routine use(s).
(f) The categories of recipients of such use. In the event of any request for an addition to the routine uses of the systems which the Corporation maintains, such request may be sent to the following office: 
AmeriCorps, Director, Administration and Management Services, Room 6100, 1201 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20525.

§ 2508.7 To whom does the Corporation provide reports regarding changes in its system of records?
The Corporation shall provide to the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, and the Office of Management and Budget, advance notice of any proposal to establish or alter any system of records as defined herein. This report will be submitted in accordance with guidelines provided by the Office of Management and Budget.

§ 2508.8 Who is responsible for establishing the Corporation's rules of conduct for Privacy Act compliance?
(a) The Chief Executive Officer shall ensure that all persons involved in the design, development, operation or maintenance of any system of records as defined herein are informed of all requirements necessary to protect the privacy of individuals who are the subject of such records. All employees shall be informed of all implications of the Act in this area including the civil remedies provided under 5 U.S.C. 552a(g)(1) and the fact that the Corporation may be subject to civil remedies for failure to comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act and this regulation.

(b) The Chief Executive Officer shall also ensure that all personnel having access to records receive adequate training in the protection of the security of personal records, and that adequate and proper storage is provided for all such records with sufficient security to assure the privacy of such records.

§ 2508.9 What officials are responsible for the security, management and control of Corporation record keeping systems?
(a) The Director of Administration and Management Services shall have overall control and supervision of the security of all systems of records and shall be responsible for monitoring the security standards set forth in this regulation.

(b) A designated official (System Manager) shall be named who shall have management responsibility for each record system maintained by the Corporation and who shall be responsible for providing protection and accountability for such records at all times and for insuring that such records are secured in appropriate containers whenever not in use or in the direct control of authorized personnel.

§ 2508.10 Who has the responsibility for maintaining adequate technical, physical, and security safeguards to prevent unauthorized disclosure or destruction of manual and automatic record systems?
The Chief Executive Officer has the responsibility of maintaining adequate technical, physical, and security safeguards to prevent unauthorized disclosure or destruction of manual and automatic record systems. These security safeguards shall apply to all systems in which identifiable personal data are processed or maintained, including all reports and outputs from such systems that contain identifiable personal information. Such safeguards must be sufficient to prevent negligent, accidental, or unintentional disclosure, modification or destruction of any personal records or data, and must furthermore minimize, to the extent practicable, the risk that skilled technicians or knowledgeable persons could improperly obtain access to modify or destroy such records or data and shall further insure against such casual entry by unskilled persons without official reasons for access to such records or data.
(a) Manual systems.

  1. Records contained in a system of records as defined herein may be used, held or stored only where facilities are adequate to prevent unauthorized access by persons within or outside the Corporation.
  2. All records, when not under the personal control of the employees authorized to use the records, must be stored in a locked metal filing cabinet. Some systems of records are not of a such confidential nature that their disclosure would constitute a harm to an individual who is the subject of such record. However, records in this category shall also be maintained in locked metal filing cabinets or maintained in a secured room with a locking door.
  3. Access to and use of a system of records shall be permitted only to persons whose duties require such access within the Corporation, for routine uses as defined in § 2508.4 as to any given system, or for such other uses as may be provided herein.
  4. Other than for access within the Corporation to persons needing such records in the performance of their official duties or routine uses as defined in § 2508.4, or such other uses as provided herein, access to records within a system of records shall be permitted only to the individual to whom the record pertains or upon his or her written request to the Director, Administration and Management Services.
  5. Access to areas where a system of records is stored will be limited to those persons whose duties require work in such areas. There shall be an accounting of the removal of any records from such storage areas utilizing a written log, as directed by the Director, Administration and Management Services. The written log shall be maintained at all times.
  6. The Corporation shall ensure that all persons whose duties require access to and use of records contained in a system of records are adequately trained to protect the security and privacy of such records.
  7. The disposal and destruction of records within a system of records shall be in accordance with rules promulgated by the General Services Administration.

(b) Automated systems.

  1. Identifiable personal information may be processed, stored or maintained by automatic data systems only where facilities or conditions are adequate to prevent unauthorized access to such system in any form. Whenever such data, whether contained in punch cards, magnetic tapes or discs, are not under the personal control of an authorized person, such information must be stored in a locked or secured room, or in such other facility having greater safeguards than those provided for herein.
  2. Access to and use of identifiable personal data associated with automated data systems shall be limited to those persons whose duties require such access. Proper control of personal data in any form associated with automated data systems shall be maintained at all times, including maintenance of accountability records showing disposition of input and output documents.
  3. All persons whose duties require access to processing and maintenance of identifiable personal data and automated systems shall be adequately trained in the security and privacy of personal data.
  4. The disposal and disposition of identifiable personal data and automated systems shall be done by shredding, burning or in the case of tapes or discs, degaussing, in accordance with any regulations now or hereafter proposed by the General Services Administration or other appropriate authority.

§ 2508.11 How shall offices maintaining a system of records be accountable for those records to prevent unauthorized disclosure of information?
(a) Each office maintaining a system of records shall account for all records within such system by maintaining a written log in the form prescribed by the Director, Administration and Management Services, containing the following information:

  1. The date, nature, and purpose of each disclosure of a record to any person or to another agency. Disclosures made to employees of the Corporation in the normal course of their duties, or pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, need not be accounted for.
  2. Such accounting shall contain the name and address of the person or agency to whom the disclosure was made.
  3. The accounting shall be maintained in accordance with a system of records approved by the Director, Administration and Management Services, as sufficient for the purpose but in any event sufficient to permit the construction of a listing of all disclosures at appropriate periodic intervals.
  4. The accounting shall reference any justification or basis upon which any release was made including any written documentation required when records are released for statistical or law enforcement purposes under the provisions of subsection (b) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a).
  5. For the purpose of this part, the system of accounting for disclosures is not a system of records under the definitions hereof and need not be maintained within a system of records.
  6. Any subject individual may request access to an accounting of disclosures of a record. The subject individual shall make a request for access to an accounting in accordance with § 2508.13. An individual will be granted access to an accounting of the disclosures of a record in accordance with the procedures of this subpart which govern access to the related record. Access to an accounting of a disclosure of a record made under § 2508.13 may be granted at the discretion of the Director, Administration and Management Services.

§ 2508.12 What are the contents of the systems of record that are to be maintained by the Corporation?
(a) The Corporation shall maintain all records that are used in making determinations about any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as is reasonably necessary to assure fairness to the individual in the determination;

(b) In situations in which the information may result in adverse determinations about such individual's rights, benefits and privileges under any Federal program, all information placed in a system of records shall, to the greatest extent practicable, be collected from the individual to whom the record pertains.

(c) Each form or other document that an individual is expected to complete in order to provide information for any system of records shall have appended thereto, or in the body of the document:

  1. An indication of the authority authorizing the solicitation of the information and whether the provision of the information is mandatory or voluntary.
  2. The purpose or purposes for which the information is intended to be used.
  3. Routine uses which may be made of the information and published pursuant to § 2508.6.
  4. The effect on the individual, if any, of not providing all or part of the required or requested information.

(d) Records maintained in any system of records used by the Corporation to make any determination about any individual shall be maintained with such accuracy, relevancy, timeliness, and completeness as is reasonably necessary to assure fairness to the individual in the making of any determination about such individual, provided however, that the Corporation shall not be required to update or keep current retired records.

(e) Before disseminating any record about any individual to any person other than an employee in the Corporation, unless the dissemination is made pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), the Corporation shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that such records are, or were at the time they were collected, accurate, complete, timely and relevant for Corporation purposes.

(f) Under no circumstances shall the Corporation maintain any record about any individual with respect to or describing how such individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained, or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity.

(g) In the event any record is disclosed as a result of the order of a court of appropriate jurisdiction, the Corporation shall make reasonable efforts to notify the individual whose record was so disclosed after the process becomes a matter of public record.

§ 2508.13 What are the procedures for acquiring access to Corporation records by an individual about whom a record is maintained?
(a) Any request for access to records from any individual about whom a record is maintained will be addressed to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the General Counsel, Attn: Privacy Act Officer, Room 8200, 1201 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20525, or delivered in person during regular business hours, whereupon access to his or her record, or to any information contained therein, if determined to be releasable, shall be provided.

(b) If the request is made in person, such individual may, upon his or her request, be accompanied by a person of his or her choosing to review the record and shall be provided an opportunity to have a copy made of any record about such individual.

(c) A record may be disclosed to a representative chosen by the individual as to whom a record is maintained upon the proper written consent of such individual.

(d) A request made in person will be promptly complied with if the records sought are in the immediate custody of the Corporation. Mailed requests or personal requests for documents in storage or otherwise not immediately available, will be acknowledged within 10 working days, and the information requested will be promptly provided thereafter.

(e) With regard to any request for disclosure of a record, the following procedures shall apply:

  1. Medical or psychological records shall be disclosed to an individual unless, in the judgment of the Corporation, access to such records might have an adverse effect upon such individual. When such determination has been made, the Corporation may require that the information be disclosed only to a physician chosen by the requesting individual. Such physician shall have full authority to disclose all or any portion of such record to the requesting individual in the exercise of his or her professional judgment.
  2. Test material and copies of certificates or other lists of eligibles or any other listing, the disclosure of which would violate the privacy of any other individual, or be otherwise exempted by the provisions of the Privacy Act, shall be removed from the record before disclosure to any individual to whom the record pertains.

§ 2508.14 What are the identification requirements for individuals who request access to records?
The Corporation shall require reasonable identification of all individuals who request access to records to ensure that records are disclosed to the proper person.
(a) In the event an individual requests disclosure in person, such individual shall be required to show an identification card such as a driver’s license, etc., containing a photo and a sample signature of such individual. Such individual may also be required to sign a statement under oath as to his or her identity, acknowledging that he or she is aware of the penalties for improper disclosure under the provisions of the Privacy Act.

(b) In the event that disclosure is requested by mail, the Corporation may request such information as may be necessary to reasonably ensure that the individual making such request is properly identified. In certain cases, the Corporation may require that a mail request be notarized with an indication that the notary received an acknowledgment of identity from the individual making such request.

(c) In the event an individual is unable to provide suitable documentation or identification, the Corporation may require a signed notarized statement asserting the identity of the individual and stipulating that the individual understands that knowingly or willfully seeking or obtaining access to records about another person under false pretenses is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.
(d) In the event a requestor wishes to be accompanied by another person while reviewing his or her records, the Corporation may require a written statement authorizing discussion of his or her records in the presence of the accompanying representative or other persons.

§ 2508.15 What are the procedures for requesting inspection of, amendment or correction to, or appeal of an individual's records maintained by the Corporation other than that individual's official personnel file?
(a) A request for inspection of any record shall be made to the Director, Administration and Management Services. Such request may be made by mail or in person provided, however, that requests made in person may be required to be made upon a form provided by the Director of Administration and Management Services who shall keep a current list of all systems of records maintained by the Corporation and published in accordance with the provisions of this regulation. However, the request need not be in writing if the individual makes his or her request in person. The requesting individual may request that the Corporation compile all records pertaining to such individual at any named Service Center/State Office, AmeriCorps*NCCC Campus, or at Corporation Headquarters in Washington, D.C., for the individual's inspection and/or copying. In the event an individual makes such request for a compilation of all records pertaining to him or her in various locations, appropriate time for such compilation shall be provided as may be necessary to promptly comply with such requests.

(b) Any such requests should contain, at a minimum, identifying information needed to locate any given record and a brief description of the item or items of information required in the event the individual wishes to see less than all records maintained about him or her.

  1. In the event an individual, after examination of his or her record, desires to request an amendment or correction of such records, the request must be submitted in writing and addressed to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the General Counsel, Attn: Privacy Act Officer, Room 8200, 1201 New York Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20525. In his or her written request, the individual shall specify:
    • The system of records from which the record is retrieved;
    • The particular record that he or she is seeking to amend or correct;
    • Whether he or she is seeking an addition to or a deletion or substitution of the record; and,
    • His or her reasons for requesting amendment or correction of the record.
  2. A request for amendment or correction of a record will be acknowledged within 10 working days of its receipt unless the request can be processed, and the individual informed of the Privacy Act Officer's decision on the request within that 10-day period.
  3. If the Privacy Act Officer agrees that the record is not accurate, timely, or complete, based on a preponderance of the evidence, the record will be corrected or amended. The record will be deleted without regard to its accuracy, if the record is not relevant or necessary to accomplish the Corporation's function for which the record was provided or is maintained. In either case, the individual will be informed in writing of the amendment, correction, or deletion and, if accounting was made of prior disclosures of the record, all previous recipients of the record will be informed of the corrective action taken.
  4. If the Privacy Act Officer does not agree that the record should be amended or corrected, the individual will be informed in writing of the refusal to amend or correct the record. He or she will also be informed that he or she may appeal the refusal to amend or correct his or her record in accordance with § 2508.17.
  5. Requests to amend or correct a record governed by the regulation of another government agency will be forwarded to such government agency for processing and the individual will be informed in writing of the referral.


(c) In the event an individual disagrees with the Privacy Act Officer's initial determination, he or she may appeal such determination to the Appeal Officer in accordance with '§ 2508.17. Such request for review must be made within 30 days after receipt by the requestor of the initial refusal to amend.

§ 2508.16 What are the procedures for filing an appeal for refusal to amend or correct records?
(a) In the event an individual desires to appeal any refusal to correct or amend records, he or she may do so by addressing, in writing, such appeal to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Attn: Appeal Officer, 1201 New York Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20525. Although there is no time limit for such appeals, the Corporation shall be under no obligation to maintain copies of original requests or responses thereto beyond 180 days from the date of the original request.

(b) An appeal will be completed within 30 working days from its receipt by the Appeal Officer; except that, the appeal authority may, for good cause, extend this period for an additional 30 days. Should the appeal period be extended, the individual appealing the original refusal will be informed in writing of the extension and the circumstances of the delay. The individual's request for access to or to amend or correct the record, the Privacy Act Officer's refusal to amend or correct the record, and any other pertinent material relating to the appeal will be reviewed. No hearing will be held.

(c) If the Appeal Officer determines that the record that is the subject of the appeal should be amended or corrected, the record will be amended or corrected, and the individual will be informed in writing of the amendment or correction. Where an accounting was made of prior disclosures of the record, all previous recipients of the record will be informed of the corrective action taken.

(d) If the appeal is denied, the subject individual will be informed in writing:

  1. Of the denial and reasons for the denial;
  2. That he or she has a right to seek judicial review of the denial; and
  3. That he or she may submit to the Appeal Officer a concise statement of disagreement to be associated with the disputed record and disclosed whenever the record is disclosed.

(e) Whenever an individual submits a statement of disagreement to the Appeal Officer in accordance with paragraph (d)(3) of this section, the record will be annotated to indicate that it is disputed. In any subsequent disclosure, a copy of the subject individual's statement of disagreement will be disclosed with the record. If the appeal authority deems it appropriate, a concise statement of the Appeal Officer's reasons for denying the individual's appeal may also be disclosed with the record. While the individual will have access to this statement of reasons, such statement will not be subject to correction or amendment. Where an accounting was made of prior disclosures of the record, all previous recipients of the record will be provided a copy of the individual's statement of disagreement, as well as the statement, if any, of the Appeal Officer's reasons for denying the individual's appeal.

§ 2508.17 When shall fees be charged and at what rate?
(a) No fees shall be charged for search time or for any other time expended by the Corporation to review or produce a record except where an individual requests that a copy be made of the record to which he or she is granted access. Where a copy of the record must be made in order to provide access to the record (e.g., computer printout where no screen reading is available), the copy will be made available to the individual without cost.

(b) The applicable fee schedule is as follows:

  1. Each copy of each page, up to 8 2" x 14", made by photocopy or similar process is $0.10 per page.
  2. Each copy of each microform frame printed on paper is $0.25.
  3. Each aperture card is $0.25.
  4. Each 105-mm fiche is $0.25.
  5. Each 100' foot role of 35-mm microfilm is $7.00.
  6. Each 100' foot role of 16-mm microfilm is $6.00.
  7. Each page of computer printout without regard to the number of carbon copies concurrently printed is $0.20.
  8. Copying records not susceptible to photocopying (e.g., punch cards or magnetic tapes), at actual cost to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  9. Other copying forms (e.g., typing or printing) will be charged at direct costs, including personnel and equipment costs.

(c) All copying fees shall be paid by the individual before the copying will be undertaken. Payments shall be made by check or money order payable to the "Corporation for National and Community Service” and provided to the Privacy Act Officer processing the request. 

(d) A copying fee shall not be charged or collected, or alternatively, it may be reduced, when it is determined by the Privacy Act Officer, based on a petition, that the petitioning individual is indigent and that the Corporation's resources permit a waiver of all or part of the fee. An individual is deemed to be indigent when he or she is without income or lacks the resources sufficient to pay the fees.

(e) Special and additional services provided at the request of the individual, such as certification or authentication, postal insurance and special mailing arrangement costs, will be charged to the individual.

(f) A copying fee totaling $5.00 or less shall be waived, but the copying fees for contemporaneous requests by the same individual shall be aggregated to determine the total fee.

§ 2508.18 What are the penalties for obtaining a record under false pretenses?
The Privacy Act provides, in pertinent part that:
(a) Any person who knowingly and willfully requests to obtain any record concerning an individual from the Corporation under false pretenses shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and find not more than $5,000 (5 U.S.C. 552a(I)(3)).

(b) A person who falsely or fraudulently attempts to obtain records under the Privacy Act also may be subject to prosecution under such other criminal statutes as 18 U.S.C. §§ 494, 495 and 1001.

§ 2508.19 What Privacy Act exemptions or control of systems of records are exempt from disclosure?
(a) Certain systems of records that are maintained by the Corporation are exempted from provisions of the Privacy Act in accordance with exemptions (j) and (k) of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

  1. Exemption of Inspector General system of records. Pursuant to, and limited by 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), the system of records maintained by the Office of the Inspector General that contains the Investigative Files shall be exempted from the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a, except subsections (b), (c)(1) and (2), (e)(4)(A) through (F), (e)(6)(7), (9), (10), and (11), and (I), and 45 CFR Parts 2508.11, 2508.12, 2508.13, 2508.14, 2508.15, 2508.16, and 2508.17, insofar as the system contains information pertaining to criminal law enforcement investigations.
  2. Pursuant to, and limited by 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), the system of records maintained by the Office of the Inspector General that contains the Investigative Files shall be exempted from 5 U.S.C. 552a (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4) (G), (H), and (I), and (f), and 45 CFR Parts 2508.11, 2508.12, 2508.13, 2508.14, 2508.15, 2508.16, and 2508.17, insofar as the system contains investigatory materials compiled for law enforcement purposes.

(b) Exemptions to the General Counsel system of records. Pursuant to, and limited by 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(5), the system of records maintained by the Office of the General Counsel that contains the Legal Office Litigation/Correspondence Files shall be exempted from the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(5), and 45 CFR 2508.4, insofar as the system contains information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding.

§ 2508.20 What are the restrictions regarding the release of mailing lists?
An individual's name and address may not be sold or rented by the Corporation unless such action is specifically authorized by law. This section does not require the withholding of names and addresses otherwise permitted to be made public.

Electronic Reading Room

The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (E-FOIA) contains a provision that requires agencies to permit the public to inspect and copy records that are likely to become the subject of multiple FOIA requests, provided the records were: (1) created after November 1, 1996; and (2) released under FOIA on or after March 31, 1997.

In furtherance of Executive Order #13392, "Improving Agency Disclosure of Information," Helen Serassio, Acting General Counsel, is the Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer for AmeriCorps.
 
E-FOIA also requires agencies to make copies of records that will be the subject of multiple FOIA requests available electronically, so that people do not need to submit a written FOIA request to AmeriCorps for those records.

  • Final Orders and Opinions - AmeriCorps does not have any documents in this category.
  • Policy Statements - AmeriCorps does not have any documents in this category.

 

AmeriCorps Official Guidance