FRB to wrap up interim rule on ‘freedom of information’ requests

Amendments that update procedures for requesting information from the Federal Reserve Board – as well as extending the deadline for administrative appeals and adding information on dispute resolution – are finalized in an interim final rule from the central bank, to be published Wednesday in the Federal Register.

The interim final rule became effective Dec. 27, 2016; the amendments finalize the interim rule with only minor edits, the Federal Reserve said.

The interim final rule was adopted in response to enactment of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, which requires agencies to establish a minimum of 90 days for requesters to file an administrative appeal and that they provide dispute resolution services at various times throughout the FOIA process.

The law also codifies the Department of Justice’s “foreseeable harm” standard, which outlines when agencies shall: withhold information (only if the agency “reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm and interest protected by an exemption” or if the disclosure is prohibited by law); consider whether partial disclosure is possible (whenever an agency determines that a full disclosure of a requested record is not possible); and take “reasonable steps necessary to segregate and release nonexempt information.”