Law:Administrative Procedure

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Contents

SUBCHAPTER I—GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec.500.Administrative practice; general provisions.501.Advertising practice; restrictions.502.Administrative practice; Reserves and National Guardsmen.503.Witness fees and allowances.504.Costs and fees of parties.


SUBCHAPTER II—ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE

551.Definitions.552.Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings.552a.Records about individuals.1

552b.Open meetings.553.Rule making.554.Adjudications.555.Ancillary matters.556.Hearings; presiding employees; powers and duties; burden of proof; evidence; record as basis of decision.557.Initial decisions; conclusiveness; review by agency; submissions by parties; contents of decisions; record.558.Imposition of sanctions; determination of applications for licenses; suspension, revocation, and expiration of licenses.559.Effect on other laws; effect of subsequent statute.


SUBCHAPTER III—NEGOTIATED RULEMAKING PROCEDURE

561.Purpose.562.Definitions.563.Determination of need for negotiated rulemaking committee.564.Publication of notice; applications for membership on committees.565.Establishment of committee.566.Conduct of committee activity.567.Termination of committee.568.Services, facilities, and payment of committee member expenses.569.Encouraging negotiated rulemaking.570.Judicial review.570a.Authorization of appropriations.


SUBCHAPTER IV—ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS

571.Definitions.572.General authority.573.Neutrals.574.Confidentiality.575.Authorization of arbitration.576.Enforcement of arbitration agreements.577.Arbitrators.578.Authority of the arbitrator.579.Arbitration proceedings.580.Arbitration awards.581.Judicial review.(582.Repealed.)583.Support services.584.Authorization of appropriations.


SUBCHAPTER V—ADMINISTRATIVE CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES

591.Purposes.592.Definitions.593.Administrative Conference of the United States.594.Powers and duties of the Conference.595.Organization of the Conference.596.Authorization of appropriations.


Amendments

2004—Pub. L. 108–401, §2(b)(2), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2255, substituted “Purposes” for “Purpose” in item 591.

1996—Pub. L. 104–320, §§4(b)(2), 10(b), 11(b)(2), (d)(2), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3871, 3873, 3874, in item 569 substituted “Encouraging negotiated rulemaking” for “Role of the Administrative Conference of the United States and other entities”, added items 570a and 584, and struck out item 582 “Compilation of information”.

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §4, Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 945, substituted headings of subchapters III, IV, and V and items 561 to 570, 571 to 583, and 591 to 596 for former heading of subchapter III and former items 571 to 576 relating to Administrative Conference of the United States, former heading of subchapter IV and former items 581 to 593 relating to alternative means of dispute resolution in the administrative process, and former heading of subchapter IV and former items 581 to 590 relating to negotiated rulemaking procedure.

1990—Pub. L. 101–648, §3(b), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4976, added heading of subchapter IV and items 581 to 590 relating to negotiated rulemaking procedure.

Pub. L. 101–552, §4(c), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2745, added heading of subchapter IV and items 581 to 593 (renumbered 571 to 583) relating to alternative means of dispute resolution.

1986—Pub. L. 99–470, §2(b), Oct. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 1198, substituted “Authorization of appropriations” for “Appropriations” in item 576.

1985—Pub. L. 99–80, §6, Aug. 5, 1985, 99 Stat. 186, revived item 504 and repealed Pub. L. 96–481, title II, §203(c), Oct. 21, 1980, 94 Stat. 2327, which provided for the repeal, effective Oct. 1, 1984, of item 504.

1980—Pub. L. 96–481, title II, §203(a)(2), (c), Oct. 21, 1980, 94 Stat. 2327, added item 504 “Costs and fees of parties”, and repealed that item effective Oct. 1, 1984.

1976—Pub. L. 94–409, §3(b), Sept. 13, 1976, 90 Stat. 1246, added item 552b.

1974—Pub. L. 93–579, §4, Dec. 31, 1974, 88 Stat. 1905, added item 552a.

1967—Pub. L. 90–83, §1(1)(B), Sept. 11, 1967, 81 Stat. 195, added item 500.

Pub. L. 90–23, §2, June 5, 1967, 81 Stat. 56, substituted “Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records and proceedings” for “Publication of information, rules, opinions, orders, and public records” in item 552.


SUBCHAPTER I—GENERAL PROVISIONS

1 So in original. Does not conform to section catchline.


§500. Administrative practice; general provisions

(a) For the purpose of this section—

(1) “agency” has the meaning given it by section 551 of this title; and

(2) “State” means a State, a territory or possession of the United States including a Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.


(b) An individual who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a State may represent a person before an agency on filing with the agency a written declaration that he is currently qualified as provided by this subsection and is authorized to represent the particular person in whose behalf he acts.

(c) An individual who is duly qualified to practice as a certified public accountant in a State may represent a person before the Internal Revenue Service of the Treasury Department on filing with that agency a written declaration that he is currently qualified as provided by this subsection and is authorized to represent the particular person in whose behalf he acts.

(d) This section does not—

(1) grant or deny to an individual who is not qualified as provided by subsection (b) or (c) of this section the right to appear for or represent a person before an agency or in an agency proceeding;

(2) authorize or limit the discipline, including disbarment, of individuals who appear in a representative capacity before an agency;

(3) authorize an individual who is a former employee of an agency to represent a person before an agency when the representation is prohibited by statute or regulation; or

(4) prevent an agency from requiring a power of attorney as a condition to the settlement of a controversy involving the payment of money.


(e) Subsections (b)–(d) of this section do not apply to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office with respect to patent matters that continue to be covered by chapter 3 (sections 31–33) of title 35.

(f) When a participant in a matter before an agency is represented by an individual qualified under subsection (b) or (c) of this section, a notice or other written communication required or permitted to be given the participant in the matter shall be given to the representative in addition to any other service specifically required by statute. When a participant is represented by more than one such qualified representative, service on any one of the representatives is sufficient.

(Added Pub. L. 90–83, §1(1)(A), Sept. 11, 1967, 81 Stat. 195; amended Pub. L. 106–113, div. B, §1000(a)(9) (title IV, §4732(b)(2)), Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1536, 1501A–583.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Section of title 5 Source (U.S. Code) Source (Revised Statutes at Large)
500(a) 5 App.: 1014. Nov. 8, 1965, Pub. L. 89–332, §3, 79 Stat. 1281.
500(b)–(e) 5 App.: 1012. Nov. 8, 1965, Pub. L. 89–332, §1, 79 Stat. 1281.
500(f) 5 App.: 1013. Nov. 8, 1965, Pub. L. 89–332, §2, 79 Stat. 1281.

The definition of “State” in subsection (a)(2) is supplied for convenience and is based on the words “State, possession, territory, Commonwealth, or District of Columbia” in subsections (a) and (b) of 5 App. U.S.C. 1012.

In subsection (d), the words “This section does not” are substituted for “nothing herein shall be construed”.

In subsection (d)(3), the word “employee” is substituted for “officer or employee” to conform to the definition of “employee” in 5 U.S.C. 2105.


Amendments

1999—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 106–113 substituted “United States Patent and Trademark Office” for “Patent Office”.


Effective Date of 1999 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 106–113 effective 4 months after Nov. 29, 1999, see section 1000(a)(9) (title IV, §4731) of Pub. L. 106–113, set out as a note under section 1 of Title 35, Patents.


§501. Advertising practice; restrictions

An individual, firm, or corporation practicing before an agency of the United States may not use the name of a Member of either House of Congress or of an individual in the service of the United States in advertising the business.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 381.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 101. Apr. 27, 1916, ch. 89, §1, 39 Stat. 54.

The words “may not” are substituted for “It shall be unlawful for”. The words “agency of the United States” are substituted for “any department or office of the Government”. The words “an individual in the service of the United States” are substituted for “officer of the Government” in view of the definitions in sections 2104 and 2105.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


§502. Administrative practice; Reserves and National Guardsmen

Membership in a reserve component of the armed forces or in the National Guard does not prevent an individual from practicing his civilian profession or occupation before, or in connection with, an agency of the United States.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 381.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 30r(c) (2d sentence). Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, §29(c) (2d sentence), 70A Stat. 632.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


§503. Witness fees and allowances

(a) For the purpose of this section, “agency” has the meaning given it by section 5721 of this title.

(b) A witness is entitled to the fees and allowances allowed by statute for witnesses in the courts of the United States when—

(1) he is subpenaed under section 304(a) of this title; or

(2) he is subpenaed to and appears at a hearing before an agency authorized by law to hold hearings and subpena witnesses to attend the hearings.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 381.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 95. R.S. §185.
5 U.S.C. 95a. Aug. 2, 1946, ch. 744, §10, 60 Stat. 809.

Former sections 95 and 95a are combined and restated for clarity and brevity. The words “or expenses in the case of Government officers and employees” are omitted as covered by section 1823 of title 28. The word “agency” is substituted for “department” and defined to conform to the definition of “department” in section 18 of the Act of Aug. 2, 1946, ch. 744, 60 Stat. 811.

This section was part of title IV of the Revised Statutes. The Act of July 26, 1947, ch. 343, §201(d), as added Aug. 10, 1949, ch. 412, §4, 63 Stat. 579 (former 5 U.S.C. 171–1), which provides “Except to the extent inconsistent with the provisions of this Act (National Security Act of 1947), the provisions of title IV of the Revised Statutes as now or hereafter amended shall be applicable to the Department of Defense” is omitted from this title but is not repealed.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


§504. Costs and fees of parties

(a)(1) An agency that conducts an adversary adjudication shall award, to a prevailing party other than the United States, fees and other expenses incurred by that party in connection with that proceeding, unless the adjudicative officer of the agency finds that the position of the agency was substantially justified or that special circumstances make an award unjust. Whether or not the position of the agency was substantially justified shall be determined on the basis of the administrative record, as a whole, which is made in the adversary adjudication for which fees and other expenses are sought.

(2) A party seeking an award of fees and other expenses shall, within thirty days of a final disposition in the adversary adjudication, submit to the agency an application which shows that the party is a prevailing party and is eligible to receive an award under this section, and the amount sought, including an itemized statement from any attorney, agent, or expert witness representing or appearing in behalf of the party stating the actual time expended and the rate at which fees and other expenses were computed. The party shall also allege that the position of the agency was not substantially justified. When the United States appeals the underlying merits of an adversary adjudication, no decision on an application for fees and other expenses in connection with that adversary adjudication shall be made under this section until a final and unreviewable decision is rendered by the court on the appeal or until the underlying merits of the case have been finally determined pursuant to the appeal.

(3) The adjudicative officer of the agency may reduce the amount to be awarded, or deny an award, to the extent that the party during the course of the proceedings engaged in conduct which unduly and unreasonably protracted the final resolution of the matter in controversy. The decision of the adjudicative officer of the agency under this section shall be made a part of the record containing the final decision of the agency and shall include written findings and conclusions and the reason or basis therefor. The decision of the agency on the application for fees and other expenses shall be the final administrative decision under this section.

(4) If, in an adversary adjudication arising from an agency action to enforce a party's compliance with a statutory or regulatory requirement, the demand by the agency is substantially in excess of the decision of the adjudicative officer and is unreasonable when compared with such decision, under the facts and circumstances of the case, the adjudicative officer shall award to the party the fees and other expenses related to defending against the excessive demand, unless the party has committed a willful violation of law or otherwise acted in bad faith, or special circumstances make an award unjust. Fees and expenses awarded under this paragraph shall be paid only as a consequence of appropriations provided in advance.

(b)(1) For the purposes of this section—

(A) “fees and other expenses” includes the reasonable expenses of expert witnesses, the reasonable cost of any study, analysis, engineering report, test, or project which is found by the agency to be necessary for the preparation of the party's case, and reasonable attorney or agent fees (The amount of fees awarded under this section shall be based upon prevailing market rates for the kind and quality of the services furnished, except that (i) no expert witness shall be compensated at a rate in excess of the highest rate of compensation for expert witnesses paid by the agency involved, and (ii) attorney or agent fees shall not be awarded in excess of $125 per hour unless the agency determines by regulation that an increase in the cost of living or a special factor, such as the limited availability of qualified attorneys or agents for the proceedings involved, justifies a higher fee.);

(B) “party” means a party, as defined in section 551(3) of this title, who is (i) an individual whose net worth did not exceed $2,000,000 at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated, or (ii) any owner of an unincorporated business, or any partnership, corporation, association, unit of local government, or organization, the net worth of which did not exceed $7,000,000 at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated, and which had not more than 500 employees at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated; except that an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of such Code, or a cooperative association as defined in section 15(a) of the Agricultural Marketing Act (12 U.S.C. 1141j(a)), may be a party regardless of the net worth of such organization or cooperative association or for purposes of subsection (a)(4), a small entity as defined in section 601;

(C) “adversary adjudication” means (i) an adjudication under section 554 of this title in which the position of the United States is represented by counsel or otherwise, but excludes an adjudication for the purpose of establishing or fixing a rate or for the purpose of granting or renewing a license, (ii) any appeal of a decision made pursuant to section 7103 of title 41 before an agency board of contract appeals as provided in section 7105 of title 41, (iii) any hearing conducted under chapter 38 of title 31, and (iv) the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993;

(D) “adjudicative officer” means the deciding official, without regard to whether the official is designated as an administrative law judge, a hearing officer or examiner, or otherwise, who presided at the adversary adjudication;

(E) “position of the agency” means, in addition to the position taken by the agency in the adversary adjudication, the action or failure to act by the agency upon which the adversary adjudication is based; except that fees and other expenses may not be awarded to a party for any portion of the adversary adjudication in which the party has unreasonably protracted the proceedings; and

(F) “demand” means the express demand of the agency which led to the adversary adjudication, but does not include a recitation by the agency of the maximum statutory penalty (i) in the administrative complaint, or (ii) elsewhere when accompanied by an express demand for a lesser amount.


(2) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (1), the definitions provided in section 551 of this title apply to this section.

(c)(1) After consultation with the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, each agency shall by rule establish uniform procedures for the submission and consideration of applications for an award of fees and other expenses. If a court reviews the underlying decision of the adversary adjudication, an award for fees and other expenses may be made only pursuant to section 2412(d)(3) of title 28, United States Code.

(2) If a party other than the United States is dissatisfied with a determination of fees and other expenses made under subsection (a), that party may, within 30 days after the determination is made, appeal the determination to the court of the United States having jurisdiction to review the merits of the underlying decision of the agency adversary adjudication. The court's determination on any appeal heard under this paragraph shall be based solely on the factual record made before the agency. The court may modify the determination of fees and other expenses only if the court finds that the failure to make an award of fees and other expenses, or the calculation of the amount of the award, was unsupported by substantial evidence.

(d) Fees and other expenses awarded under this subsection shall be paid by any agency over which the party prevails from any funds made available to the agency by appropriation or otherwise.

(e) The Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, after consultation with the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration, shall report annually to the Congress on the amount of fees and other expenses awarded during the preceding fiscal year pursuant to this section. The report shall describe the number, nature, and amount of the awards, the claims involved in the controversy, and any other relevant information which may aid the Congress in evaluating the scope and impact of such awards. Each agency shall provide the Chairman with such information as is necessary for the Chairman to comply with the requirements of this subsection.

(f) No award may be made under this section for costs, fees, or other expenses which may be awarded under section 7430 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

(Added Pub. L. 96–481, title II, §203(a)(1), (c), Oct. 21, 1980, 94 Stat. 2325, 2327; revived and amended Pub. L. 99–80, §§1, 6, Aug. 5, 1985, 99 Stat. 183, 186; Pub. L. 99–509, title VI, §6103(c), Oct. 21, 1986, 100 Stat. 1948; Pub. L. 99–514, §2, Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2095; Pub. L. 100–647, title VI, §6239(b), Nov. 10, 1988, 102 Stat. 3746; Pub. L. 103–141, §4(b), Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1489; Pub. L. 104–121, title II, §231, Mar. 29, 1996, 110 Stat. 862; Pub. L. 111–350, §5(a)(1), Jan. 4, 2011, 124 Stat. 3841.)


References in Text

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, referred to in subsec. (b)(1)(C)(iv), is Pub. L. 103–141, Nov. 16, 1993, 107 Stat. 1488, which is classified principally to chapter 21B (§2000bb et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2000bb of Title 42 and Tables.

Section 7430 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, referred to in subsec. (f), is classified to section 7430 of Title 26, Internal Revenue Code.


Amendments

2011—Subsec. (b)(1)(C)(ii). Pub. L. 111–350 substituted “section 7103 of title 41” for “section 6 of the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (41 U.S.C. 605)” and “section 7105 of title 41” for “section 8 of that Act (41 U.S.C. 607)”.

1996—Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 104–121, §231(a), added par. (4).

Subsec. (b)(1)(A)(ii). Pub. L. 104–121, §231(b)(1), substituted “$125” for “$75”.

Subsec. (b)(1)(B). Pub. L. 104–121, §231(b)(2), inserted before semicolon at end “or for purposes of subsection (a)(4), a small entity as defined in section 601”.

Subsec. (b)(1)(F). Pub. L. 104–121, §231(b)(3)–(5), added subpar. (F).

1993—Subsec. (b)(1)(C). Pub. L. 103–141 added cl. (iv).

1988—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 100–647 added subsec. (f).

1986—Subsec. (b)(1)(B). Pub. L. 99–514 substituted “Internal Revenue Code of 1986” for “Internal Revenue Code of 1954”.

Subsec. (b)(1)(C)(iii). Pub. L. 99–509 added cl. (iii).

1985—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 99–80, §1(a)(1), (2), struck out “as a party to the proceeding” after “the position of the agency”, and inserted “Whether or not the position of the agency was substantially justified shall be determined on the basis of the administrative record, as a whole, which is made in the adversary adjudication for which fees and other expenses are sought.”

Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 99–80, §1(b), inserted “When the United States appeals the underlying merits of an adversary adjudication, no decision on an application for fees and other expenses in connection with that adversary adjudication shall be made under this section until a final and unreviewable decision is rendered by the court on the appeal or until the underlying merits of the case have been finally determined pursuant to the appeal.”

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 99–80, §1(a)(3), inserted “The decision of the agency on the application for fees and other expenses shall be the final administrative decision under this section.”

Subsec. (b)(1)(B). Pub. L. 99–80, §1(c)(1), amended subpar. (B) generally. Prior to amendment, subpar. (B) read as follows: “ ‘party’ means a party, as defined in section 551(3) of this title, which is an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization other than an agency, but excludes (i) any individual whose net worth exceeded $1,000,000 at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated, and any sole owner of an unincorporated business, or any partnership, corporation, association, or organization whose net worth exceeded $5,000,000 at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated, except that an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Code and a cooperative association as defined in section 15(a) of the Agricultural Marketing Act (12 U.S.C. 1141j(a)), may be a party regardless of the net worth of such organization or cooperative association, and (ii) any sole owner of an unincorporated business, or any partnership, corporation, association, or organization, having more than 500 employees at the time the adversary adjudication was initiated;”.

Subsec. (b)(1)(C). Pub. L. 99–80, §1(c)(2), designated existing provisions of subpar. (C) as cl. (i) thereof by inserting “(i)” before “an adjudication under”, added cl. (ii), and struck out “and” after the semicolon at the end.

Subsec. (b)(1)(D), (E). Pub. L. 99–80, §1(c)(3), substituted “; and” for the period at end of subpar. (D), and added subpar. (E).

Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 99–80, §1(d), amended par. (2) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (2) read as follows: “A party dissatisfied with the fee determination made under subsection (a) may petition for leave to appeal to the court of the United States having jurisdiction to review the merits of the underlying decision of the agency adversary adjudication. If the court denies the petition for leave to appeal, no appeal may be taken from the denial. If the court grants the petition, it may modify the determination only if it finds that the failure to make an award, or the calculation of the amount of the award, was an abuse of discretion.”

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 99–80, §1(e), amended subsec. (d) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (d) read as follows:

“(1) Fees and other expenses awarded under this section may be paid by any agency over which the party prevails from any funds made available to the agency, by appropriation or otherwise, for such purpose. If not paid by any agency, the fees and other expenses shall be paid in the same manner as the payment of final judgments is made pursuant to section 2414 of title 28, United States Code.

“(2) There is authorized to be appropriated to each agency for each of the fiscal years 1982, 1983, and 1984, such sums as may be necessary to pay fees and other expenses awarded under this section in such fiscal years.”

1980—Pub. L. 96–481, §203(c), which provided for the repeal of this section effective Oct. 1, 1984, was itself repealed and this section was revived by section 6 of Pub. L. 99–80, set out as a note below.


Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Section 233 of Pub. L. 104–121 provided that: “The amendments made by sections 331 and 332 (probably means sections 231 and 232, amending this section and section 2412 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) shall apply to civil actions and adversary adjudications commenced on or after the date of the enactment of this subtitle (Mar. 29, 1996).”


Effective Date of 1988 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 100–647 applicable to proceedings commencing after Nov. 10, 1988, see section 6239(d) of Pub. L. 100–647, set out as a note under section 7430 of Title 26, Internal Revenue Code.


Effective Date of 1986 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 99–509 effective Oct. 21, 1986, and applicable to any claim or statement made, presented or submitted on or after such date, see section 6104 of Pub. L. 99–509, set out as an Effective Date note under section 3801 of Title 31, Money and Finance.


Effective Date of 1985 Amendment

Section 7 of Pub. L. 99–80 provided that:

“(a) In General.—Except as otherwise provided in this section, the amendments made by this Act (reviving and amending this section and section 2412(d) of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, and amending and repealing provisions set out as notes under those sections) shall apply to cases pending on or commenced on or after the date of the enactment of this Act (Aug. 5, 1985).

“(b) Applicability of Amendments to Certain Prior Cases.—The amendments made by this Act shall apply to any case commenced on or after October 1, 1984, and finally disposed of before the date of the enactment of this Act (Aug. 5, 1985), except that in any such case, the 30-day period referred to in section 504(a)(2) of title 5, United States Code, or section 2412(d)(1)(B) of title 28, United States Code, as the case may be, shall be deemed to commence on the date of the enactment of this Act.

“(c) Applicability of Amendments to Prior Board of Contracts Appeals Cases.—Section 504(b)(1)(C)(ii) of title 5, United States Code, as added by section 1(c)(2) of this Act, and section 2412(d)(2)(E) of title 28, United States Code, as added by section 2(c)(2) of this Act, shall apply to any adversary adjudication pending on or commenced on or after October 1, 1981, in which applications for fees and other expenses were timely filed and were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.”


Effective Date

Section 208 of title II of Pub. L. 96–481, as amended by Pub. L. 99–80, §5, Aug. 5, 1985, 99 Stat. 186, provided that: “This title and the amendments made by this title (see Short Title note below) shall take effect of (on) October 1, 1981, and shall apply to any adversary adjudication, as defined in section 504(b)(1)(C) of title 5, United States Code, and any civil action or adversary adjudication described in section 2412 of title 28, United States Code, which is pending on, or commenced on or after, such date. Awards may be made for fees and other expenses incurred before October 1, 1981, in any such adversary adjudication or civil action.”

Section 203(c) of Pub. L. 96–481 which provided that effective Oct. 1, 1984, this section is repealed, except that the provisions of this section shall continue to apply through final disposition of any adversary adjudication initiated before the date of repeal, was itself repealed by Pub. L. 99–80, §6(b)(1), Aug. 5, 1985, 99 Stat. 186.


Short Title

Section 201 of title II of Pub. L. 96–481 provided that: “This title (enacting this section, amending section 634 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade, section 2412 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, set out in Title 28 Appendix, and section 1988 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section and section 2412 of Title 28) may be cited as the ‘Equal Access to Justice Act’.”


Termination of Reporting Requirements

For termination, effective May 15, 2000, of provisions in subsec. (e) of this section relating to annual report to Congress on the amount of fees and other expenses, see section 3003 of Pub. L. 104–66, as amended, set out as a note under section 1113 of Title 31, Money and Finance, and page 153 of House Document No. 103–7.


Termination of Administrative Conference of United States

For termination of Administrative Conference of United States, see provision of title IV of Pub. L. 104–52, set out as a note preceding section 591 of this title.


Prohibition on Use of Energy and Water Development Appropriations To Pay Intervening Parties in Regulatory or Adjudicatory Proceedings

Pub. L. 102–377, title V, §502, Oct. 2, 1992, 106 Stat. 1342, provided that: “None of the funds in this Act or subsequent Energy and Water Development Appropriations Acts shall be used to pay the expenses of, or otherwise compensate, parties intervening in regulatory or adjudicatory proceedings funded in such Acts.”


Revival of Previously Repealed Provisions

Section 6 of Pub. L. 99–80 provided that:

“(a) Revival of Certain Expired Provisions.—Section 504 of title 5, United States Code, and the item relating to that section in the table of sections of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code, and subsection (d) of section 2412 of title 28, United States Code, shall be effective on or after the date of the enactment of this Act (Aug. 5, 1985) as if they had not been repealed by sections 203(c) and 204(c) of the Equal Access to Justice Act (Pub. L. 96–481).

“(b) Repeals.—

“(1) Section 203(c) of the Equal Access to Justice Act (which repealed this section) is hereby repealed.

“(2) Section 204(c) of the Equal Access to Justice Act (which repealed section 2412(d) of title 28) is hereby repealed.”


Congressional Findings and Purposes

Section 202 of title II of Pub. L. 96–481 provided that:

“(a) The Congress finds that certain individuals, partnerships, corporations, and labor and other organizations may be deterred from seeking review of, or defending against, unreasonable governmental action because of the expense involved in securing the vindication of their rights in civil actions and in administrative proceedings.

“(b) The Congress further finds that because of the greater resources and expertise of the United States the standard for an award of fees against the United States should be different from the standard governing an award against a private litigant, in certain situations.

“(c) It is the purpose of this title (see Short Title note above)—

“(1) to diminish the deterrent effect of seeking review of, or defending against, governmental action by providing in specified situations an award of attorney fees, expert witness fees, and other costs against the United States; and

“(2) to insure the applicability in actions by or against the United States of the common law and statutory exceptions to the ‘American rule’ respecting the award of attorney fees.”


Limitation on Payments

Section 207 of title II of Pub. L. 96–481, which provided that the payment of judgments, fees and other expenses in the same manner as the payment of final judgments as provided in this Act (probably should be “this title”, see Short Title note above) would be effective only to the extent and in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriation Acts, was repealed by Pub. L. 99–80, §4, Aug. 5, 1985, 99 Stat. 186.


SUBCHAPTER II—ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE

Short Title

The provisions of this subchapter and chapter 7 of this title were originally enacted by act June 11, 1946, ch. 324, 60 Stat. 237, popularly known as the “Administrative Procedure Act”. That Act was repealed as part of the general revision of this title by Pub. L. 89–554 and its provisions incorporated into this subchapter and chapter 7 hereof.


§551. Definitions

For the purpose of this subchapter—

(1) “agency” means each authority of the Government of the United States, whether or not it is within or subject to review by another agency, but does not include—

(A) the Congress;

(B) the courts of the United States;

(C) the governments of the territories or possessions of the United States;

(D) the government of the District of Columbia;


or except as to the requirements of section 552 of this title—

(E) agencies composed of representatives of the parties or of representatives of organizations of the parties to the disputes determined by them;

(F) courts martial and military commissions;

(G) military authority exercised in the field in time of war or in occupied territory; or

(H) functions conferred by sections 1738, 1739, 1743, and 1744 of title 12; subchapter II of chapter 471 of title 49; or sections 1884, 1891–1902, and former section 1641(b)(2), of title 50, appendix;


(2) “person” includes an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization other than an agency;

(3) “party” includes a person or agency named or admitted as a party, or properly seeking and entitled as of right to be admitted as a party, in an agency proceeding, and a person or agency admitted by an agency as a party for limited purposes;

(4) “rule” means the whole or a part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or describing the organization, procedure, or practice requirements of an agency and includes the approval or prescription for the future of rates, wages, corporate or financial structures or reorganizations thereof, prices, facilities, appliances, services or allowances therefor or of valuations, costs, or accounting, or practices bearing on any of the foregoing;

(5) “rule making” means agency process for formulating, amending, or repealing a rule;

(6) “order” means the whole or a part of a final disposition, whether affirmative, negative, injunctive, or declaratory in form, of an agency in a matter other than rule making but including licensing;

(7) “adjudication” means agency process for the formulation of an order;

(8) “license” includes the whole or a part of an agency permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, membership, statutory exemption or other form of permission;

(9) “licensing” includes agency process respecting the grant, renewal, denial, revocation, suspension, annulment, withdrawal, limitation, amendment, modification, or conditioning of a license;

(10) “sanction” includes the whole or a part of an agency—

(A) prohibition, requirement, limitation, or other condition affecting the freedom of a person;

(B) withholding of relief;

(C) imposition of penalty or fine;

(D) destruction, taking, seizure, or withholding of property;

(E) assessment of damages, reimbursement, restitution, compensation, costs, charges, or fees;

(F) requirement, revocation, or suspension of a license; or

(G) taking other compulsory or restrictive action;


(11) “relief” includes the whole or a part of an agency—

(A) grant of money, assistance, license, authority, exemption, exception, privilege, or remedy;

(B) recognition of a claim, right, immunity, privilege, exemption, or exception; or

(C) taking of other action on the application or petition of, and beneficial to, a person;


(12) “agency proceeding” means an agency process as defined by paragraphs (5), (7), and (9) of this section;

(13) “agency action” includes the whole or a part of an agency rule, order, license, sanction, relief, or the equivalent or denial thereof, or failure to act; and

(14) “ex parte communication” means an oral or written communication not on the public record with respect to which reasonable prior notice to all parties is not given, but it shall not include requests for status reports on any matter or proceeding covered by this subchapter.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 381; Pub. L. 94–409, §4(b), Sept. 13, 1976, 90 Stat. 1247; Pub. L. 103–272, §5(a), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1373; Pub. L. 111–350, §5(a)(2), Jan. 4, 2011, 124 Stat. 3841.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
(1) 5 U.S.C. 1001(a). June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §2(a), 60 Stat. 237.
Aug. 8, 1946, ch. 870, §302, 60 Stat. 918.
Aug. 10, 1946, ch. 951, §601, 60 Stat. 993.
Mar. 31, 1947, ch. 30, §6(a), 61 Stat. 37.
June 30, 1947, ch. 163, §210, 61 Stat. 201.
Mar. 30, 1948, ch. 161, §301, 62 Stat. 99.
(2)–(13) 5 U.S.C. 1001 (less (a)). June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §2 (less (a)), 60 Stat. 237.

In paragraph (1), the sentence “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to repeal delegations of authority as provided by law,” is omitted as surplusage since there is nothing in the Act which could reasonably be so construed.

In paragraph (1)(G), the words “or naval” are omitted as included in “military”.

In paragraph (1)(H), the words “functions which by law expire on the termination of present hostilities, within any fixed period thereafter, or before July 1, 1947” are omitted as executed. Reference to the “Selective Training and Service Act of 1940” is omitted as that Act expired Mar. 31, 1947. Reference to the “Sugar Control Extension Act of 1947” is omitted as that Act expired on Mar. 31, 1948. References to the “Housing and Rent Act of 1947, as amended” and the “Veterans’ Emergency Housing Act of 1946” have been consolidated as they are related. The reference to former section 1641(b)(2) of title 50, appendix, is retained notwithstanding its repeal by §111(a)(1) of the Act of Sept. 21, 1961, Pub. L. 87–256, 75 Stat. 538, since §111(c) of the Act provides that a reference in other Acts to a provision of law repealed by §111(a) shall be considered to be a reference to the appropriate provisions of Pub. L. 87–256.

In paragraph (2), the words “of any character” are omitted as surplusage.

In paragraph (3), the words “and a person or agency admitted by an agency as a party for limited purposes” are substituted for “but nothing herein shall be construed to prevent an agency from admitting any person or agency as a party for limited purposes”.

In paragraph (9), a comma is supplied between the words “limitation” and “amendment” to correct an editorial error of omission.

In paragraph (10)(C), the words “of any form” are omitted as surplusage.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Codification

Section 551 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2242 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Amendments

2011—Par. (1)(H). Pub. L. 111–350 struck out “chapter 2 of title 41;” after “title 12;”.

1994—Par. (1)(H). Pub. L. 103–272 substituted “subchapter II of chapter 471 of title 49; or sections” for “or sections 1622,”.

1976—Par. (14). Pub. L. 94–409 added par. (14).


Effective Date of 1976 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 94–409 effective 180 days after Sept. 13, 1976, see section 6 of Pub. L. 94–409, set out as an Effective Date note under section 552b of this title.


Study and Reports on Administrative Subpoenas

Pub. L. 106–544, §7, Dec. 19, 2000, 114 Stat. 2719, provided that:

“(a) Study on Use of Administrative Subpoenas.—Not later than December 31, 2001, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, shall complete a study on the use of administrative subpoena power by executive branch agencies or entities and shall report the findings to the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Such report shall include—

“(1) a description of the sources of administrative subpoena power and the scope of such subpoena power within executive branch agencies;

“(2) a description of applicable subpoena enforcement mechanisms;

“(3) a description of any notification provisions and any other provisions relating to safeguarding privacy interests;

“(4) a description of the standards governing the issuance of administrative subpoenas; and

“(5) recommendations from the Attorney General regarding necessary steps to ensure that administrative subpoena power is used and enforced consistently and fairly by executive branch agencies.

“(b) Report on Frequency of Use of Administrative Subpoenas.—

“(1) In general.—The Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury shall report in January of each year to the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the number of administrative subpoenas issued by them under this section and the identity of the agency or component of the Department of Justice or the Department of the Treasury issuing the subpoena and imposing the charges.

“(2) Expiration.—The reporting requirement of this subsection shall terminate in 3 years after the date of the enactment of this section (Dec. 19, 2000).”


§552. Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings

(a) Each agency shall make available to the public information as follows:

(1) Each agency shall separately state and currently publish in the Federal Register for the guidance of the public—

(A) descriptions of its central and field organization and the established places at which, the employees (and in the case of a uniformed service, the members) from whom, and the methods whereby, the public may obtain information, make submittals or requests, or obtain decisions;

(B) statements of the general course and method by which its functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures available;

(C) rules of procedure, descriptions of forms available or the places at which forms may be obtained, and instructions as to the scope and contents of all papers, reports, or examinations;

(D) substantive rules of general applicability adopted as authorized by law, and statements of general policy or interpretations of general applicability formulated and adopted by the agency; and

(E) each amendment, revision, or repeal of the foregoing.


Except to the extent that a person has actual and timely notice of the terms thereof, a person may not in any manner be required to resort to, or be adversely affected by, a matter required to be published in the Federal Register and not so published. For the purpose of this paragraph, matter reasonably available to the class of persons affected thereby is deemed published in the Federal Register when incorporated by reference therein with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register.

(2) Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public inspection and copying—

(A) final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the adjudication of cases;

(B) those statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted by the agency and are not published in the Federal Register;

(C) administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public;

(D) copies of all records, regardless of form or format, which have been released to any person under paragraph (3) and 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; and

(E) a general index of the records referred to under subparagraph (D);


unless the materials are promptly published and copies offered for sale. For records created on or after November 1, 1996, within one year after such date, each agency shall make such records available, including by computer telecommunications or, if computer telecommunications means have not been established by the agency, by other electronic means. To the extent required to prevent a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, an agency may delete identifying details when it makes available or publishes an opinion, statement of policy, interpretation, staff manual, instruction, or copies of records referred to in subparagraph (D). However, in each case the justification for the deletion shall be explained fully in writing, and the extent of such deletion shall be indicated on the portion of the record which is made available or published, unless including that indication would harm an interest protected by the exemption in subsection (b) under which the deletion is made. If technically feasible, the extent of the deletion shall be indicated at the place in the record where the deletion was made. Each agency shall also maintain and make available for public inspection and copying current indexes providing identifying information for the public as to any matter issued, adopted, or promulgated after July 4, 1967, and required by this paragraph to be made available or published. Each agency shall promptly publish, quarterly or more frequently, and distribute (by sale or otherwise) copies of each index or supplements thereto unless it determines by order published in the Federal Register that the publication would be unnecessary and impracticable, in which case the agency shall nonetheless provide copies of such index on request at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication. Each agency shall make the index referred to in subparagraph (E) available by computer telecommunications by December 31, 1999. A final order, opinion, statement of policy, interpretation, or staff manual or instruction that affects a member of the public may be relied on, used, or cited as precedent by an agency against a party other than an agency only if—

(i) it has been indexed and either made available or published as provided by this paragraph; or

(ii) the party has actual and timely notice of the terms thereof.


(3)(A) Except with respect to the records made available under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, and except as provided in subparagraph (E), each agency, upon any request for records which (i) reasonably describes such records and (ii) is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any), and procedures to be followed, shall make the records promptly available to any person.

(B) In making any record available to a person under this paragraph, an agency shall provide the record in any form or format requested by the person if the record is readily reproducible by the agency in that form or format. Each agency shall make reasonable efforts to maintain its records in forms or formats that are reproducible for purposes of this section.

(C) In responding under this paragraph to a request for records, an agency shall make reasonable efforts to search for the records in electronic form or format, except when such efforts would significantly interfere with the operation of the agency's automated information system.

(D) For purposes of this paragraph, the term “search” means to review, manually or by automated means, agency records for the purpose of locating those records which are responsive to a request.

(E) An agency, or part of an agency, that is an element of the intelligence community (as that term is defined in section 3(4) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 401a(4))) shall not make any record available under this paragraph to—

(i) any government entity, other than a State, territory, commonwealth, or district of the United States, or any subdivision thereof; or

(ii) a representative of a government entity described in clause (i).


(4)(A)(i) In order to carry out the provisions of this section, each agency shall promulgate regulations, pursuant to notice and receipt of public comment, specifying the schedule of fees applicable to the processing of requests under this section and establishing procedures and guidelines for determining when such fees should be waived or reduced. Such schedule shall conform to the guidelines which shall be promulgated, pursuant to notice and receipt of public comment, by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and which shall provide for a uniform schedule of fees for all agencies.

(ii) Such agency regulations shall provide that—

(I) fees shall be limited to reasonable standard charges for document search, duplication, and review, when records are requested for commercial use;

(II) fees shall be limited to reasonable standard charges for document duplication when records are not sought for commercial use and the request is made by an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, whose purpose is scholarly or scientific research; or a representative of the news media; and

(III) for any request not described in (I) or (II), fees shall be limited to reasonable standard charges for document search and duplication.


In this clause, the term “a representative of the news media” means any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. In this clause, the term “news” means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news-media entities are television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large and publishers of periodicals (but only if such entities qualify as disseminators of “news”) who make their products available for purchase by or subscription by or free distribution to the general public. These examples are not all-inclusive. Moreover, as methods of news delivery evolve (for example, the adoption of the electronic dissemination of newspapers through telecommunications services), such alternative media shall be considered to be news-media entities. A freelance journalist shall be regarded as working for a news-media entity if the journalist can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that entity, whether or not the journalist is actually employed by the entity. A publication contract would present a solid basis for such an expectation; the Government may also consider the past publication record of the requester in making such a determination.

(iii) Documents shall be furnished without any charge or at a charge reduced below the fees established under clause (ii) if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(iv) Fee schedules shall provide for the recovery of only the direct costs of search, duplication, or review. Review costs shall include only the direct costs incurred during the initial examination of a document for the purposes of determining whether the documents must be disclosed under this section and for the purposes of withholding any portions exempt from disclosure under this section. Review costs may not include any costs incurred in resolving issues of law or policy that may be raised in the course of processing a request under this section. No fee may be charged by any agency under this section—

(I) if the costs of routine collection and processing of the fee are likely to equal or exceed the amount of the fee; or

(II) for any request described in clause (ii) (II) or (III) of this subparagraph for the first two hours of search time or for the first one hundred pages of duplication.


(v) No agency may require advance payment of any fee unless the requester has previously failed to pay fees in a timely fashion, or the agency has determined that the fee will exceed $250.

(vi) Nothing in this subparagraph shall supersede fees chargeable under a statute specifically providing for setting the level of fees for particular types of records.

(vii) In any action by a requester regarding the waiver of fees under this section, the court shall determine the matter de novo: Provided, That the court's review of the matter shall be limited to the record before the agency.

(viii) An agency shall not assess search fees (or in the case of a requester described under clause (ii)(II), duplication fees) under this subparagraph if the agency fails to comply with any time limit under paragraph (6), if no unusual or exceptional circumstances (as those terms are defined for purposes of paragraphs (6)(B) and (C), respectively) apply to the processing of the request.

(B) On complaint, the district court of the United States in the district in which the complainant resides, or has his principal place of business, or in which the agency records are situated, or in the District of Columbia, has jurisdiction to enjoin the agency from withholding agency records and to order the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the complainant. In such a case the court shall determine the matter de novo, and may examine the contents of such agency records in camera to determine whether such records or any part thereof shall be withheld under any of the exemptions set forth in subsection (b) of this section, and the burden is on the agency to sustain its action. In addition to any other matters to which a court accords substantial weight, a court shall accord substantial weight to an affidavit of an agency concerning the agency's determination as to technical feasibility under paragraph (2)(C) and subsection (b) and reproducibility under paragraph (3)(B).

(C) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the defendant shall serve an answer or otherwise plead to any complaint made under this subsection within thirty days after service upon the defendant of the pleading in which such complaint is made, unless the court otherwise directs for good cause shown.

((D) Repealed. Pub. L. 98–620, title IV, §402(2), Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3357.)

(E)(i) The court may assess against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in any case under this section in which the complainant has substantially prevailed.

(ii) For purposes of this subparagraph, a complainant has substantially prevailed if the complainant has obtained relief through either—

(I) a judicial order, or an enforceable written agreement or consent decree; or

(II) a voluntary or unilateral change in position by the agency, if the complainant's claim is not insubstantial.


(F)(i) Whenever the court orders the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the complainant and assesses against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs, and the court additionally issues a written finding that the circumstances surrounding the withholding raise questions whether agency personnel acted arbitrarily or capriciously with respect to the withholding, the Special Counsel shall promptly initiate a proceeding to determine whether disciplinary action is warranted against the officer or employee who was primarily responsible for the withholding. The Special Counsel, after investigation and consideration of the evidence submitted, shall submit his findings and recommendations to the administrative authority of the agency concerned and shall send copies of the findings and recommendations to the officer or employee or his representative. The administrative authority shall take the corrective action that the Special Counsel recommends.

(ii) The Attorney General shall—

(I) notify the Special Counsel of each civil action described under the first sentence of clause (i); and

(II) annually submit a report to Congress on the number of such civil actions in the preceding year.


(iii) The Special Counsel shall annually submit a report to Congress on the actions taken by the Special Counsel under clause (i).

(G) In the event of noncompliance with the order of the court, the district court may punish for contempt the responsible employee, and in the case of a uniformed service, the responsible member.

(5) Each agency having more than one member shall maintain and make available for public inspection a record of the final votes of each member in every agency proceeding.

(6)(A) Each agency, upon any request for records made under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection, shall—

(i) determine within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of any such request whether to comply with such request and shall immediately notify the person making such request of such determination and the reasons therefor, and of the right of such person to appeal to the head of the agency any adverse determination; and

(ii) make a determination with respect to any appeal within twenty days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of such appeal. If on appeal the denial of the request for records is in whole or in part upheld, the agency shall notify the person making such request of the provisions for judicial review of that determination under paragraph (4) of this subsection.


The 20-day period under clause (i) shall commence on the date on which the request is first received by the appropriate component of the agency, but in any event not later than ten days after the request is first received by any component of the agency that is designated in the agency's regulations under this section to receive requests under this section. The 20-day period shall not be tolled by the agency except—

(I) that the agency may make one request to the requester for information and toll the 20-day period while it is awaiting such information that it has reasonably requested from the requester under this section; or

(II) if necessary to clarify with the requester issues regarding fee assessment. In either case, the agency's receipt of the requester's response to the agency's request for information or clarification ends the tolling period.


(B)(i) In unusual circumstances as specified in this subparagraph, the time limits prescribed in either clause (i) or clause (ii) of subparagraph (A) may be extended by written notice to the person making such request setting forth the unusual circumstances for such extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. No such notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension for more than ten working days, except as provided in clause (ii) of this subparagraph.

(ii) With respect to a request for which a written notice under clause (i) extends the time limits prescribed under clause (i) of subparagraph (A), the agency shall notify the person making the request if the request cannot be processed within the time limit specified in that clause and shall provide the person an opportunity to limit the scope of the request so that it may be processed within that time limit or an opportunity to arrange with the agency an alternative time frame for processing the request or a modified request. To aid the requester, each agency shall make available its FOIA Public Liaison, who shall assist in the resolution of any disputes between the requester and the agency. Refusal by the person to reasonably modify the request or arrange such an alternative time frame shall be considered as a factor in determining whether exceptional circumstances exist for purposes of subparagraph (C).

(iii) As used in this subparagraph, “unusual circumstances” means, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to the proper processing of the particular requests—

(I) the need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;

(II) the need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or

(III) the need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.


(iv) Each agency may promulgate regulations, pursuant to notice and receipt of public comment, providing for the aggregation of certain requests by the same requestor, or by a group of requestors acting in concert, if the agency reasonably believes that such requests actually constitute a single request, which would otherwise satisfy the unusual circumstances specified in this subparagraph, and the requests involve clearly related matters. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters shall not be aggregated.

(C)(i) Any person making a request to any agency for records under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection shall be deemed to have exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to such request if the agency fails to comply with the applicable time limit provisions of this paragraph. If the Government can show exceptional circumstances exist and that the agency is exercising due diligence in responding to the request, the court may retain jurisdiction and allow the agency additional time to complete its review of the records. Upon any determination by an agency to comply with a request for records, the records shall be made promptly available to such person making such request. Any notification of denial of any request for records under this subsection shall set forth the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the denial of such request.

(ii) For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “exceptional circumstances” does not include a delay that results from a predictable agency workload of requests under this section, unless the agency demonstrates reasonable progress in reducing its backlog of pending requests.

(iii) Refusal by a person to reasonably modify the scope of a request or arrange an alternative time frame for processing a request (or a modified request) under clause (ii) after being given an opportunity to do so by the agency to whom the person made the request shall be considered as a factor in determining whether exceptional circumstances exist for purposes of this subparagraph.

(D)(i) Each agency may promulgate regulations, pursuant to notice and receipt of public comment, providing for multitrack processing of requests for records based on the amount of work or time (or both) involved in processing requests.

(ii) Regulations under this subparagraph may provide a person making a request that does not qualify for the fastest multitrack processing an opportunity to limit the scope of the request in order to qualify for faster processing.

(iii) This subparagraph shall not be considered to affect the requirement under subparagraph (C) to exercise due diligence.

(E)(i) Each agency shall promulgate regulations, pursuant to notice and receipt of public comment, providing for expedited processing of requests for records—

(I) in cases in which the person requesting the records demonstrates a compelling need; and

(II) in other cases determined by the agency.


(ii) Notwithstanding clause (i), regulations under this subparagraph must ensure—

(I) that a determination of whether to provide expedited processing shall be made, and notice of the determination shall be provided to the person making the request, within 10 days after the date of the request; and

(II) expeditious consideration of administrative appeals of such determinations of whether to provide expedited processing.


(iii) An agency shall process as soon as practicable any request for records to which the agency has granted expedited processing under this subparagraph. Agency action to deny or affirm denial of a request for expedited processing pursuant to this subparagraph, and failure by an agency to respond in a timely manner to such a request shall be subject to judicial review under paragraph (4), except that the judicial review shall be based on the record before the agency at the time of the determination.

(iv) A district court of the United States shall not have jurisdiction to review an agency denial of expedited processing of a request for records after the agency has provided a complete response to the request.

(v) For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “compelling need” means—

(I) that a failure to obtain requested records on an expedited basis under this paragraph could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or

(II) with respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.


(vi) A demonstration of a compelling need by a person making a request for expedited processing shall be made by a statement certified by such person to be true and correct to the best of such person's knowledge and belief.

(F) In denying a request for records, in whole or in part, an agency shall make a reasonable effort to estimate the volume of any requested matter the provision of which is denied, and shall provide any such estimate to the person making the request, unless providing such estimate would harm an interest protected by the exemption in subsection (b) pursuant to which the denial is made.

(7) Each agency shall—

(A) establish a system to assign an individualized tracking number for each request received that will take longer than ten days to process and provide to each person making a request the tracking number assigned to the request; and

(B) establish a telephone line or Internet service that provides information about the status of a request to the person making the request using the assigned tracking number, including—

(i) the date on which the agency originally received the request; and

(ii) an estimated date on which the agency will complete action on the request.


(b) This section does not apply to matters that are—

(1)(A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;

(2) related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;

(3) specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than section 552b of this title), if that statute—

(A)(i) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue; or

(ii) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld; and

(B) if enacted after the date of enactment of the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009, specifically cites to this paragraph.


(4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

(5) inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency;

(6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual;

(8) contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; or

(9) geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.


Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be provided to any person requesting such record after deletion of the portions which are exempt under this subsection. The amount of information deleted, and the exemption under which the deletion is made, shall be indicated on the released portion of the record, unless including that indication would harm an interest protected by the exemption in this subsection under which the deletion is made. If technically feasible, the amount of the information deleted, and the exemption under which the deletion is made, shall be indicated at the place in the record where such deletion is made.

(c)(1) Whenever a request is made which involves access to records described in subsection (b)(7)(A) and—

(A) the investigation or proceeding involves a possible violation of criminal law; and

(B) there is reason to believe that (i) the subject of the investigation or proceeding is not aware of its pendency, and (ii) disclosure of the existence of the records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings,


the agency may, during only such time as that circumstance continues, treat the records as not subject to the requirements of this section.

(2) Whenever informant records maintained by a criminal law enforcement agency under an informant's name or personal identifier are requested by a third party according to the informant's name or personal identifier, the agency may treat the records as not subject to the requirements of this section unless the informant's status as an informant has been officially confirmed.

(3) Whenever a request is made which involves access to records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation pertaining to foreign intelligence or counterintelligence, or international terrorism, and the existence of the records is classified information as provided in subsection (b)(1), the Bureau may, as long as the existence of the records remains classified information, treat the records as not subject to the requirements of this section.

(d) This section does not authorize withholding of information or limit the availability of records to the public, except as specifically stated in this section. This section is not authority to withhold information from Congress.

(e)(1) On or before February 1 of each year, each agency shall submit to the Attorney General of the United States a report which shall cover the preceding fiscal year and which shall include—

(A) the number of determinations made by the agency not to comply with requests for records made to such agency under subsection (a) and the reasons for each such determination;

(B)(i) the number of appeals made by persons under subsection (a)(6), the result of such appeals, and the reason for the action upon each appeal that results in a denial of information; and

(ii) a complete list of all statutes that the agency relies upon to authorize the agency to withhold information under subsection (b)(3), the number of occasions on which each statute was relied upon, a description of whether a court has upheld the decision of the agency to withhold information under each such statute, and a concise description of the scope of any information withheld;

(C) the number of requests for records pending before the agency as of September 30 of the preceding year, and the median and average number of days that such requests had been pending before the agency as of that date;

(D) the number of requests for records received by the agency and the number of requests which the agency processed;

(E) the median number of days taken by the agency to process different types of requests, based on the date on which the requests were received by the agency;

(F) the average number of days for the agency to respond to a request beginning on the date on which the request was received by the agency, the median number of days for the agency to respond to such requests, and the range in number of days for the agency to respond to such requests;

(G) based on the number of business days that have elapsed since each request was originally received by the agency—

(i) the number of requests for records to which the agency has responded with a determination within a period up to and including 20 days, and in 20-day increments up to and including 200 days;

(ii) the number of requests for records to which the agency has responded with a determination within a period greater than 200 days and less than 301 days;

(iii) the number of requests for records to which the agency has responded with a determination within a period greater than 300 days and less than 401 days; and

(iv) the number of requests for records to which the agency has responded with a determination within a period greater than 400 days;


(H) the average number of days for the agency to provide the granted information beginning on the date on which the request was originally filed, the median number of days for the agency to provide the granted information, and the range in number of days for the agency to provide the granted information;

(I) the median and average number of days for the agency to respond to administrative appeals based on the date on which the appeals originally were received by the agency, the highest number of business days taken by the agency to respond to an administrative appeal, and the lowest number of business days taken by the agency to respond to an administrative appeal;

(J) data on the 10 active requests with the earliest filing dates pending at each agency, including the amount of time that has elapsed since each request was originally received by the agency;

(K) data on the 10 active administrative appeals with the earliest filing dates pending before the agency as of September 30 of the preceding year, including the number of business days that have elapsed since the requests were originally received by the agency;

(L) the number of expedited review requests that are granted and denied, the average and median number of days for adjudicating expedited review requests, and the number adjudicated within the required 10 days;

(M) the number of fee waiver requests that are granted and denied, and the average and median number of days for adjudicating fee waiver determinations;

(N) the total amount of fees collected by the agency for processing requests; and

(O) the number of full-time staff of the agency devoted to processing requests for records under this section, and the total amount expended by the agency for processing such requests.


(2) Information in each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall be expressed in terms of each principal component of the agency and for the agency overall.

(3) Each agency shall make each such report available to the public including by computer telecommunications, or if computer telecommunications means have not been established by the agency, by other electronic means. In addition, each agency shall make the raw statistical data used in its reports available electronically to the public upon request.

(4) The Attorney General of the United States shall make each report which has been made available by electronic means available at a single electronic access point. The Attorney General of the United States shall notify the Chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight of the House of Representatives and the Chairman and ranking minority member of the Committees on Governmental Affairs and the Judiciary of the Senate, no later than April 1 of the year in which each such report is issued, that such reports are available by electronic means.

(5) The Attorney General of the United States, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, shall develop reporting and performance guidelines in connection with reports required by this subsection by October 1, 1997, and may establish additional requirements for such reports as the Attorney General determines may be useful.

(6) The Attorney General of the United States shall submit an annual report on or before April 1 of each calendar year which shall include for the prior calendar year a listing of the number of cases arising under this section, the exemption involved in each case, the disposition of such case, and the cost, fees, and penalties assessed under subparagraphs (E), (F), and (G) of subsection (a)(4). Such report shall also include a description of the efforts undertaken by the Department of Justice to encourage agency compliance with this section.

(f) For purposes of this section, the term—

(1) “agency” as defined in section 551(1) of this title includes any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency; and

(2) “record” and any other term used in this section in reference to information includes—

(A) any information that would be an agency record subject to the requirements of this section when maintained by an agency in any format, including an electronic format; and

(B) any information described under subparagraph (A) that is maintained for an agency by an entity under Government contract, for the purposes of records management.


(g) The head of each agency shall prepare and make publicly available upon request, reference material or a guide for requesting records or information from the agency, subject to the exemptions in subsection (b), including—

(1) an index of all major information systems of the agency;

(2) a description of major information and record locator systems maintained by the agency; and

(3) a handbook for obtaining various types and categories of public information from the agency pursuant to chapter 35 of title 44, and under this section.


(h)(1) There is established the Office of Government Information Services within the National Archives and Records Administration.

(2) The Office of Government Information Services shall—

(A) review policies and procedures of administrative agencies under this section;

(B) review compliance with this section by administrative agencies; and

(C) recommend policy changes to Congress and the President to improve the administration of this section.


(3) The Office of Government Information Services shall offer mediation services to resolve disputes between persons making requests under this section and administrative agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation and, at the discretion of the Office, may issue advisory opinions if mediation has not resolved the dispute.

(i) The Government Accountability Office shall conduct audits of administrative agencies on the implementation of this section and issue reports detailing the results of such audits.

(j) Each agency shall designate a Chief FOIA Officer who shall be a senior official of such agency (at the Assistant Secretary or equivalent level).

(k) The Chief FOIA Officer of each agency shall, subject to the authority of the head of the agency—

(1) have agency-wide responsibility for efficient and appropriate compliance with this section;

(2) monitor implementation of this section throughout the agency and keep the head of the agency, the chief legal officer of the agency, and the Attorney General appropriately informed of the agency's performance in implementing this section;

(3) recommend to the head of the agency such adjustments to agency practices, policies, personnel, and funding as may be necessary to improve its implementation of this section;

(4) review and report to the Attorney General, through the head of the agency, at such times and in such formats as the Attorney General may direct, on the agency's performance in implementing this section;

(5) facilitate public understanding of the purposes of the statutory exemptions of this section by including concise descriptions of the exemptions in both the agency's handbook issued under subsection (g), and the agency's annual report on this section, and by providing an overview, where appropriate, of certain general categories of agency records to which those exemptions apply; and

(6) designate one or more FOIA Public Liaisons.


(l) FOIA Public Liaisons shall report to the agency Chief FOIA Officer and shall serve as supervisory officials to whom a requester under this section can raise concerns about the service the requester has received from the FOIA Requester Center, following an initial response from the FOIA Requester Center Staff. FOIA Public Liaisons shall be responsible for assisting in reducing delays, increasing transparency and understanding of the status of requests, and assisting in the resolution of disputes.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 383; Pub. L. 90–23, §1, June 5, 1967, 81 Stat. 54; Pub. L. 93–502, §§1–3, Nov. 21, 1974, 88 Stat. 1561–1564; Pub. L. 94–409, §5(b), Sept. 13, 1976, 90 Stat. 1247; Pub. L. 95–454, title IX, §906(a)(10), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1225; Pub. L. 98–620, title IV, §402(2), Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3357; Pub. L. 99–570, title I, §§1802, 1803, Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3207–48, 3207–49; Pub. L. 104–231, §§3–11, Oct. 2, 1996, 110 Stat. 3049–3054; Pub. L. 107–306, title III, §312, Nov. 27, 2002, 116 Stat. 2390; Pub. L. 110–175, §§3, 4(a), 5, 6(a)(1), (b)(1), 7(a), 8–10(a), 12, Dec. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 2525–2530; Pub. L. 111–83, title V, §564(b), Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2184.)


Historical and Revision Notes 1966 Act
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1002. June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §3, 60 Stat. 238.

In subsection (b)(3), the words “formulated and” are omitted as surplusage. In the last sentence of subsection (b), the words “in any manner” are omitted as surplusage since the prohibition is all inclusive.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


1967 Act

Section 1 (of Pub. L. 90–23) amends section 552 of title 5, United States Code, to reflect Public Law 89–487.

In subsection (a)(1)(A), the words “employees (and in the case of a uniformed service, the member)” are substituted for “officer” to retain the coverage of Public Law 89–487 and to conform to the definitions in 5 U.S.C. 2101, 2104, and 2105.

In the last sentence of subsection (a)(2), the words “A final order * * * may be relied on * * * only if” are substituted for “No final order * * * may be relied upon * * * unless”; and the words “a party other than an agency” and “the party” are substituted for “a private party” and “the private party”, respectively, on authority of the definition of “private party” in 5 App. U.S.C. 1002(g).

In subsection (a)(3), the words “the responsible employee, and in the case of a uniformed service, the responsible member” are substituted for “the responsible officers” to retain the coverage of Public Law 89–487 and to conform to the definitions in 5 U.S.C. 2101, 2104, and 2105.

In subsection (a)(4), the words “shall maintain and make available for public inspection a record” are substituted for “shall keep a record * * * and that record shall be available for public inspection”.

In subsection (b)(5) and (7), the words “a party other than an agency” are substituted for “a private party” on authority of the definition of “private party” in 5 App. U.S.C. 1002(g).

In subsection (c), the words “This section does not authorize” and “This section is not authority” are substituted for “Nothing in this section authorizes” and “nor shall this section be authority”, respectively.

5 App. U.S.C. 1002(g), defining “private party” to mean a party other than an agency, is omitted since the words “party other than an agency” are substituted for the words “private party” wherever they appear in revised 5 U.S.C. 552.

5 App. U.S.C. 1002(h), prescribing the effective date, is omitted as unnecessary. That effective date is prescribed by section 4 of this bill.


References in Text

The date of enactment of the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009, referred to in subsec. (b)(3)(B), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 111–83, which was approved Oct. 28, 2009.


Codification

Section 552 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2243 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Amendments

2009—Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 111–83 added par. (3) and struck out former par. (3), which read as follows: “specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than section 552b of this title), provided that such statute (A) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (B) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld;”.

2007—Subsec. (a)(4)(A)(ii). Pub. L. 110–175, §3, inserted concluding provisions.

Subsec. (a)(4)(A)(viii). Pub. L. 110–175, §6(b)(1)(A), added cl. (viii).

Subsec. (a)(4)(E). Pub. L. 110–175, §4(a), designated existing provisions as cl. (i) and added cl. (ii).

Subsec. (a)(4)(F). Pub. L. 110–175, §5, designated existing provisions as cl. (i) and added cls. (ii) and (iii).

Subsec. (a)(6)(A). Pub. L. 110–175, §6(a)(1), inserted concluding provisions.

Subsec. (a)(6)(B)(ii). Pub. L. 110–175, §6(b)(1)(B), inserted after the first sentence “To aid the requester, each agency shall make available its FOIA Public Liaison, who shall assist in the resolution of any disputes between the requester and the agency.”

Subsec. (a)(7). Pub. L. 110–175, §7(a), added par. (7).

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 110–175, §12, in concluding provisions, inserted “, and the exemption under which the deletion is made,” after “The amount of information deleted” in second sentence and after “the amount of the information deleted” in third sentence.

Subsec. (e)(1)(B)(ii). Pub. L. 110–175, §8(a)(1), inserted “the number of occasions on which each statute was relied upon,” after “subsection (b)(3),”.

Subsec. (e)(1)(C). Pub. L. 110–175, §8(a)(2), inserted “and average” after “median”.

Subsec. (e)(1)(E). Pub. L. 110–175, §8(a)(3), inserted before semicolon “, based on the date on which the requests were received by the agency”.

Subsec. (e)(1)(F) to (O). Pub. L. 110–175, §8(a)(4), (5), added subpars. (F) to (M) and redesignated former subpars. (F) and (G) as (N) and (O), respectively.

Subsec. (e)(2). Pub. L. 110–175, §8(b)(2), added par. (2). Former par. (2) redesignated (3).

Subsec. (e)(3). Pub. L. 110–175, §8(b)(1), (c), redesignated par. (2) as (3) and inserted at end “In addition, each agency shall make the raw statistical data used in its reports available electronically to the public upon request.” Former par. (3) redesignated (4).

Subsec. (e)(4) to (6). Pub. L. 110–175, §8(b)(1), redesignated pars. (3) to (5) as (4) to (6), respectively.

Subsec. (f)(2). Pub. L. 110–175, §9, added par. (2) and struck out former par. (2) which read as follows: “ ‘record’ and any other term used in this section in reference to information includes any information that would be an agency record subject to the requirements of this section when maintained by an agency in any format, including an electronic format.”

Subsecs. (h) to (l). Pub. L. 110–175, §10(a), added subsecs. (h) to (l).

2002—Subsec. (a)(3)(A). Pub. L. 107–306, §312(1), inserted “and except as provided in subparagraph (E),” after “of this subsection,”.

Subsec. (a)(3)(E). Pub. L. 107–306, §312(2), added subpar. (E).

1996—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 104–231, §4(4), (5), in first sentence struck out “and” at end of subpar. (B) and inserted subpars. (D) and (E).

Pub. L. 104–231, §4(7), inserted after first sentence “For records created on or after November 1, 1996, within one year after such date, each agency shall make such records available, including by computer telecommunications or, if computer telecommunications means have not been established by the agency, by other electronic means.”

Pub. L. 104–231, §4(1), in second sentence substituted “staff manual, instruction, or copies of records referred to in subparagraph (D)” for “or staff manual or instruction”.

Pub. L. 104–231, §4(2), inserted before period at end of third sentence “, and the extent of such deletion shall be indicated on the portion of the record which is made available or published, unless including that indication would harm an interest protected by the exemption in subsection (b) under which the deletion is made”.

Pub. L. 104–231, §4(3), inserted after third sentence “If technically feasible, the extent of the deletion shall be indicated at the place in the record where the deletion was made.”

Pub. L. 104–231, §4(6), which directed the insertion of the following new sentence after the fifth sentence “Each agency shall make the index referred to in subparagraph (E) available by computer telecommunications by December 31, 1999.”, was executed by making the insertion after the sixth sentence, to reflect the probable intent of Congress and the addition of a new sentence by section 4(3) of Pub. L. 104–231.

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 104–231, §5, inserted subpar. (A) designation after “(3)”, redesignated subpars. (A) and (B) as cls. (i) and (ii), respectively, and added subpars. (B) to (D).

Subsec. (a)(4)(B). Pub. L. 104–231, §6, inserted at end “In addition to any other matters to which a court accords substantial weight, a court shall accord substantial weight to an affidavit of an agency concerning the agency's determination as to technical feasibility under paragraph (2)(C) and subsection (b) and reproducibility under paragraph (3)(B).”

Subsec. (a)(6)(A)(i). Pub. L. 104–231, §8(b), substituted “20 days” for “ten days”.

Subsec. (a)(6)(B). Pub. L. 104–231, §7(b), amended subpar. (B) generally. Prior to amendment, subpar. (B) read as follows: “In unusual circumstances as specified in this subparagraph, the time limits prescribed in either clause (i) or clause (ii) of subparagraph (A) may be extended by written notice to the person making such request setting forth the reasons for such extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. No such notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension for more than ten working days. As used in this subparagraph, ‘unusual circumstances’ means, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to the proper processing of the particular request—

“(i) the need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;

“(ii) the need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or

“(iii) the need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.”

Subsec. (a)(6)(C). Pub. L. 104–231, §7(c), designated existing provisions as cl. (i) and added cls. (ii) and (iii).

Subsec. (a)(6)(D). Pub. L. 104–231, §7(a), added subpar. (D).

Subsec. (a)(6)(E), (F). Pub. L. 104–231, §8(a), (c), added subpars. (E) and (F).

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–231, §9, inserted at end of closing provisions “The amount of information deleted shall be indicated on the released portion of the record, unless including that indication would harm an interest protected by the exemption in this subsection under which the deletion is made. If technically feasible, the amount of the information deleted shall be indicated at the place in the record where such deletion is made.”

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 104–231, §10, amended subsec. (e) generally, revising and restating provisions relating to reports to Congress.

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 104–231, §3, amended subsec. (f) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (f) read as follows: “For purposes of this section, the term ‘agency’ as defined in section 551(1) of this title includes any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency.”

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 104–231, §11, added subsec. (g).

1986—Subsec. (a)(4)(A). Pub. L. 99–570, §1803, amended subpar. (A) generally. Prior to amendment, subpar. (A) read as follows: “In order to carry out the provisions of this section, each agency shall promulgate regulations, pursuant to notice and receipt of public comment, specifying a uniform schedule of fees applicable to all constituent units of such agency. Such fees shall be limited to reasonable standard charges for document search and duplication and provide for recovery of only the direct costs of such search and duplication. Documents shall be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge where the agency determines that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest because furnishing the information can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public.”

Subsec. (b)(7). Pub. L. 99–570, §1802(a), amended par. (7) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (7) read as follows: “investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such records would (A) interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) 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 national security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished only by the confidential source, (E) disclose investigative techniques and procedures, or (F) endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel;”.

Subsecs. (c) to (f). Pub. L. 99–570, §1802(b), added subsec. (c) and redesignated former subsecs. (c) to (e) as (d) to (f), respectively.

1984—Subsec. (a)(4)(D). Pub. L. 98–620 repealed subpar. (D) which provided for precedence on the docket and expeditious disposition of district court proceedings authorized by subsec. (a).

1978—Subsec. (a)(4)(F). Pub. L. 95–454 substituted references to the Special Counsel for references to the Civil Service Commission wherever appearing and reference to his findings for reference to its findings.

1976—Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 94–409 inserted provision excluding section 552b of this title from applicability of exemption from disclosure and provision setting forth conditions for statute specifically exempting disclosure.

1974—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 93–502, §1(a), substituted provisions relating to maintenance and availability of current indexes, for provisions relating to maintenance and availability of a current index, and inserted provisions relating to publication and distribution of copies of indexes or supplements thereto.

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 93–502, §1(b)(1), substituted provisions requiring requests to reasonably describe records for provisions requiring requests, for identifiable records, and struck out provisions setting forth procedures to enjoin agencies from withholding the requested records and ordering their production.

Subsec. (a)(4), (5). Pub. L. 93–502, §1(b)(2), added par. (4) and redesignated former par. (4) as (5).

Subsec. (a)(6). Pub. L. 93–502, §1(c), added par. (6).

Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 93–502, §2(a), designated existing provisions as cl. (A), substituted “authorized under criteria established by an” for “required by”, and added cl. (B).

Subsec. (b)(7). Pub. L. 93–502, §2(b), substituted provisions relating to exemption for investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, for provisions relating to exemption for investigatory files compiled for law enforcement purposes.

Subsec. (b), foll. par. (9). Pub. L. 93–502, §2(c), inserted provision relating to availability of segregable portion of records.

Subsecs. (d), (e). Pub. L. 93–502, §3, added subsecs. (d) and (e).

1967—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 90–23 substituted introductory statement requiring every agency to make available to the public certain information for former introductory provision excepting from disclosure (1) any function of the United States requiring secrecy in the public interest or (2) any matter relating to internal management of an agency, covered in subsec. (b)(1) and (2) of this section.

Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 90–23 incorporated provisions of: former subsec. (b)(1) in (A), inserting requirement of publication of names of officers as sources of information and provision for public to obtain decisions, and striking out publication requirement for delegations by the agency of final authority; former subsec. (b)(2), introductory part, in (B); former subsec. (b)(2), concluding part, in (C), inserting publication requirement for rules of procedure and descriptions of forms available or the places at which forms may be obtained; former subsec. (b)(3), introductory part, in (D), inserting requirement of general applicability of substantive rules and interpretations, added clause (E), substituted exemption of any person from failure to resort to any matter or from being adversely affected by any matter required to be published in the Federal Register but not so published for former subsec. (b)(3), concluding part, excepting from publication rules addressed to and served upon named persons in accordance with laws and final sentence reading “A person may not be required to resort to organization or procedure not so published” and inserted provision deeming matter, which is reasonably available, as published in the Federal Register when such matter is incorporated by reference in the Federal Register with the approval of its Director.

Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 90–23 incorporated provisions of former subsec. (c), provided for public copying of records, struck out requirement of agency publication of final opinions or orders and authority for secrecy and withholding of opinions and orders required for good cause to be held confidential and not cited as precedents, latter provision now superseded by subsec. (b) of this section, designated existing subsec. (c) as clause (A), including provision for availability of concurring and dissenting opinions, inserted provisions for availability of policy statements and interpretations in clause (B) and staff manuals and instructions in clause (C), deletion of personal identifications from records to protect personal privacy with written justification therefor, and provision for indexing and prohibition of use of records not indexed against any private party without actual and timely notice of the terms thereof.

Subsec. (a)(3). Pub. L. 90–23 incorporated provisions of former subsec. (d) and substituted provisions requiring identifiable agency records to be made available to any person upon request and compliance with rules as to time, place, and procedure for inspection, and payment of fees and provisions for Federal district court proceedings de novo for enforcement by contempt of noncompliance with court's orders with the burden on the agency and docket precedence for such proceedings for former provisions requiring matters of official record to be made available to persons properly and directly concerned except information held confidential for good cause shown, the latter provision superseded by subsec. (b) of this section.

Subsec. (a)(4). Pub. L. 90–23 added par. (4).

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 90–23 added subsec. (b) which superseded provisions excepting from disclosure any function of the United States requiring secrecy in the public interest or any matter relating to internal management of an agency, formerly contained in former subsec. (a), final opinions or orders required for good cause to be held confidential and not cited as precedents, formerly contained in subsec. (c), and information held confidential for good cause found, contained in former subsec. (d) of this section.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 90–23 added subsec. (c).


Change of Name

Committee on Governmental Affairs of Senate changed to Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of Senate, effective Jan. 4, 2005, by Senate Resolution No. 445, One Hundred Eighth Congress, Oct. 9, 2004.

Committee on Government Reform and Oversight of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Government Reform of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 5, One Hundred Sixth Congress, Jan. 6, 1999. Committee on Government Reform of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 6, One Hundred Tenth Congress, Jan. 5, 2007.


Effective Date of 2007 Amendment

Pub. L. 110–175, §6(a)(2), Dec. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 2526, provided that: “The amendment made by this subsection (amending this section) shall take effect 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act (Dec. 31, 2007).”

Pub. L. 110–175, §6(b)(2), Dec. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 2526, provided that: “The amendment made by this subsection (amending this section) shall take effect 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act (Dec. 31, 2007) and apply to requests for information under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, filed on or after that effective date.”

Pub. L. 110–175, §7(b), Dec. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 2527, provided that: “The amendment made by this section (amending this section) shall take effect 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act (Dec. 31, 2007) and apply to requests for information under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, filed on or after that effective date.”

Pub. L. 110–175, §10(b), Dec. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 2530, provided that: “The amendments made by this section (amending this section) shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act (Dec. 31, 2007).”


Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Section 12 of Pub. L. 104–231 provided that:

“(a) In General.—Except as provided in subsection (b), this Act (amending this section and enacting provisions set out as notes below) shall take effect 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act (Oct. 2, 1996).

“(b) Provisions Effective on Enactment (sic).—Sections 7 and 8 (amending this section) shall take effect one year after the date of the enactment of this Act (Oct. 2, 1996).”


Effective Date of 1986 Amendment

Section 1804 of Pub. L. 99–570 provided that:

“(a) The amendments made by section 1802 (amending this section) shall be effective on the date of enactment of this Act (Oct. 27, 1986), and shall apply with respect to any requests for records, whether or not the request was made prior to such date, and shall apply to any civil action pending on such date.

“(b)(1) The amendments made by section 1803 (amending this section) shall be effective 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act (Oct. 27, 1986), except that regulations to implement such amendments shall be promulgated by such 180th day.

“(2) The amendments made by section 1803 (amending this section) shall apply with respect to any requests for records, whether or not the request was made prior to such date, and shall apply to any civil action pending on such date, except that review charges applicable to records requested for commercial use shall not be applied by an agency to requests made before the effective date specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection or before the agency has finally issued its regulations.”


Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–620 not applicable to cases pending on Nov. 8, 1984, see section 403 of Pub. L. 98–620, set out as an Effective Date note under section 1657 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.


Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 95–454 effective 90 days after Oct. 13, 1978, see section 907 of Pub. L. 95–454, set out as a note under section 1101 of this title.


Effective Date of 1976 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 94–409 effective 180 days after Sept. 13, 1976, see section 6 of Pub. L. 94–409, set out as an Effective Date note under section 552b of this title.


Effective Date of 1974 Amendment

Section 4 of Pub. L. 93–502 provided that: “The amendments made by this Act (amending this section) shall take effect on the ninetieth day beginning after the date of enactment of this Act (Nov. 21, 1974).”


Effective Date of 1967 Amendment

Section 4 of Pub. L. 90–23 provided that: “This Act (amending this section) shall be effective July 4, 1967, or on the date of enactment (June 5, 1967), whichever is later.”


Short Title of 1996 Amendment

Section 1 of Pub. L. 104–231 provided that: “This Act (amending this section and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section) may be cited as the ‘Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996’.”


Short Title of 1986 Amendment

Section 1801 of Pub. L. 99–570 provided that: “This subtitle (subtitle N (§§1801–1804) of title I of Pub. L. 99–570, amending this section and enacting provisions set out as a note under this section) may be cited as the ‘Freedom of Information Reform Act of 1986’.”


Short Title

This section is popularly known as the “Freedom of Information Act”.


Protected National Security Documents

Pub. L. 111–83, title V, §565, Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2184, provided that:

“(a) Short Title.—This section may be cited as the ‘Protected National Security Documents Act of 2009’.

“(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of the law to the contrary, no protected document, as defined in subsection (c), shall be subject to disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code(,) or any proceeding under that section.

“(c) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) Protected document.—The term ‘protected document’ means any record—

“(A) for which the Secretary of Defense has issued a certification, as described in subsection (d), stating that disclosure of that record would endanger citizens of the United States, members of the United States Armed Forces, or employees of the United States Government deployed outside the United States; and

“(B) that is a photograph that—

“(i) was taken during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through January 22, 2009; and

“(ii) relates to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States.

“(2) Photograph.—The term ‘photograph’ encompasses all photographic images, whether originals or copies, including still photographs, negatives, digital images, films, video tapes, and motion pictures.

“(d) Certification.—

“(1) In general.—For any photograph described under subsection (c)(1), the Secretary of Defense shall issue a certification if the Secretary of Defense determines that disclosure of that photograph would endanger citizens of the United States, members of the United States Armed Forces, or employees of the United States Government deployed outside the United States.

“(2) Certification expiration.—A certification and a renewal of a certification issued pursuant to subsection (d)(3) shall expire 3 years after the date on which the certification or renewal, (sic) is issued by the Secretary of Defense.

“(3) Certification renewal.—The Secretary of Defense may issue—

“(A) a renewal of a certification at any time; and

“(B) more than 1 renewal of a certification.

“(4) Notice to congress.—The Secretary of Defense shall provide Congress a timely notice of the Secretary's issuance of a certification and of a renewal of a certification.

“(e) Rule of Construction.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the voluntary disclosure of a protected document.

“(f) Effective Date.—This section shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act (Oct. 28, 2009) and apply to any protected document.”


Findings

Pub. L. 110–175, §2, Dec. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 2524, provided that: “Congress finds that—

“(1) the Freedom of Information Act (probably means Pub. L. 89–487 which amended section 1002 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, see Historical and Revision notes above) was signed into law on July 4, 1966, because the American people believe that—

“(A) our constitutional democracy, our system of self-government, and our commitment to popular sovereignty depends upon the consent of the governed;

“(B) such consent is not meaningful unless it is informed consent; and

“(C) as Justice Black noted in his concurring opinion in Barr v. Matteo (360 U.S. 564 (1959)), ‘The effective functioning of a free government like ours depends largely on the force of an informed public opinion. This calls for the widest possible understanding of the quality of government service rendered by all elective or appointed public officials or employees.’;

“(2) the American people firmly believe that our system of government must itself be governed by a presumption of openness;

“(3) the Freedom of Information Act establishes a ‘strong presumption in favor of disclosure’ as noted by the United States Supreme Court in United States Department of State v. Ray (502 U.S. 164 (1991)), a presumption that applies to all agencies governed by that Act;

“(4) ‘disclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant objective of the Act,’ as noted by the United States Supreme Court in Department of Air Force v. Rose (425 U.S. 352 (1976));

“(5) in practice, the Freedom of Information Act has not always lived up to the ideals of that Act; and

“(6) Congress should regularly review section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act), in order to determine whether further changes and improvements are necessary to ensure that the Government remains open and accessible to the American people and is always based not upon the ‘need to know’ but upon the fundamental ‘right to know’.”


Limitation on Amounts Obligated or Expended From Claims and Judgment Fund

Pub. L. 110–175, §4(b), Dec. 31, 2007, 121 Stat. 2525, provided that: “Notwithstanding section 1304 of title 31, United States Code, no amounts may be obligated or expended from the Claims and Judgment Fund of the United States Treasury to pay the costs resulting from fees assessed under section 552(a)(4)(E) of title 5, United States Code. Any such amounts shall be paid only from funds annually appropriated for any authorized purpose for the Federal agency against which a claim or judgment has been rendered.”


Nondisclosure of Certain Products of Commercial Satellite Operations

Pub. L. 108–375, div. A, title IX, §914, Oct. 28, 2004, 118 Stat. 2029, provided that:

“(a) Mandatory Disclosure Requirements Inapplicable.—The requirements to make information available under section 552 of title 5, United States Code, shall not apply to land remote sensing information.

“(b) Land Remote Sensing Information Defined.—In this section, the term ‘land remote sensing information’—

“(1) means any data that—

“(A) are collected by land remote sensing; and

“(B) are prohibited from sale to customers other than the United States Government and United States Government-approved customers for reasons of national security pursuant to the terms of an operating license issued pursuant to the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 ((former) 15 U.S.C. 5601 et seq.) (now 51 U.S.C. 60101 et seq.); and

“(2) includes any imagery and other product that is derived from such data and which is prohibited from sale to customers other than the United States Government and United States Government-approved customers for reasons of national security pursuant to the terms of an operating license described in paragraph (1)(B).

“(c) State or Local Government Disclosures.—Land remote sensing information provided by the head of a department or agency of the United States to a State, local, or tribal government may not be made available to the general public under any State, local, or tribal law relating to the disclosure of information or records.

“(d) Safeguarding Information.—The head of each department or agency of the United States having land remote sensing information within that department or agency or providing such information to a State, local, or tribal government shall take such actions, commensurate with the sensitivity of that information, as are necessary to protect that information from disclosure other than in accordance with this section and other applicable law.

“(e) Additional Definition.—In this section, the term ‘land remote sensing’ has the meaning given such term in section 3 of the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 ((former) 15 U.S.C. 5602) (now 51 U.S.C. 60101).

“(f) Disclosure to Congress.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the withholding of information from the appropriate committees of Congress.”


Disclosure of Arson, Explosive, or Firearm Records

Pub. L. 108–7, div. J, title VI, §644, Feb. 20, 2003, 117 Stat. 473, provided that: “No funds appropriated under this Act or any other Act with respect to any fiscal year shall be available to take any action based upon any provision of 5 U.S.C. 552 with respect to records collected or maintained pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 846(b), 923(g)(3) or 923(g)(7), or provided by Federal, State, local, or foreign law enforcement agencies in connection with arson or explosives incidents or the tracing of a firearm, except that such records may continue to be disclosed to the extent and in the manner that records so collected, maintained, or obtained have been disclosed under 5 U.S.C. 552 prior to the date of the enactment of this Act (Feb. 20, 2003).”


Disclosure of Information on Japanese Imperial Government

Pub. L. 106–567, title VIII, Dec. 27, 2000, 114 Stat. 2864, as amended by Pub. L. 108–199, div. H, §163, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452; Pub. L. 109–5, §1, Mar. 25, 2005, 119 Stat. 19, provided that:


“SEC. 801. SHORT TITLE.

“This title may be cited as the ‘Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000’.


“SEC. 802. DESIGNATION.

“(a) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) Agency.—The term ‘agency’ has the meaning given such term under section 551 of title 5, United States Code.

“(2) Interagency group.—The term ‘Interagency Group’ means the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group established under subsection (b).

“(3) Japanese imperial government records.—The term ‘Japanese Imperial Government records’ means classified records or portions of records that pertain to any person with respect to whom the United States Government, in its sole discretion, has grounds to believe ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the experimentation on, and persecution of, any person because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion, during the period beginning September 18, 1931, and ending on December 31, 1948, under the direction of, or in association with—

“(A) the Japanese Imperial Government;

“(B) any government in any area occupied by the military forces of the Japanese Imperial Government;

“(C) any government established with the assistance or cooperation of the Japanese Imperial Government; or

“(D) any government which was an ally of the Japanese Imperial Government.

“(4) Record.—The term ‘record’ means a Japanese Imperial Government record.

“(b) Establishment of Interagency Group.—

“(1) In general.—Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act (Dec. 27, 2000), the President shall designate the Working Group established under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act (Public Law 105–246; 5 U.S.C. 552 note) to also carry out the purposes of this title with respect to Japanese Imperial Government records, and that Working Group shall remain in existence for 6 years after the date on which this title takes effect. Such Working Group is redesignated as the ‘Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group’.

“(2) Membership.—(Amended Pub. L. 105–246, set out as a note below.)

“(c) Functions.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act (Dec. 27, 2000), the Interagency Group shall, to the greatest extent possible consistent with section 803—

“(1) locate, identify, inventory, recommend for declassification, and make available to the public at the National Archives and Records Administration, all classified Japanese Imperial Government records of the United States;

“(2) coordinate with agencies and take such actions as necessary to expedite the release of such records to the public; and

“(3) submit a report to Congress, including the Committee on Government Reform (now Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate, describing all such records, the disposition of such records, and the activities of the Interagency Group and agencies under this section.

“(d) Funding.—There is authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this title.


“SEC. 803. REQUIREMENT OF DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS.

“(a) Release of Records.—Subject to subsections (b), (c), and (d), the Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group shall release in their entirety Japanese Imperial Government records.

“(b) Exemptions.—An agency head may exempt from release under subsection (a) specific information, that would—

“(1) constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

“(2) reveal the identity of a confidential human source, or reveal information about an intelligence source or method when the unauthorized disclosure of that source or method would damage the national security interests of the United States;

“(3) reveal information that would assist in the development or use of weapons of mass destruction;

“(4) reveal information that would impair United States cryptologic systems or activities;

“(5) reveal information that would impair the application of state-of-the-art technology within a United States weapon system;

“(6) reveal United States military war plans that remain in effect;

“(7) reveal information that would impair relations between the United States and a foreign government, or undermine ongoing diplomatic activities of the United States;

“(8) reveal information that would impair the current ability of United States Government officials to protect the President, Vice President, and other officials for whom protection services are authorized in the interest of national security;

“(9) reveal information that would impair current national security emergency preparedness plans; or

“(10) violate a treaty or other international agreement.

“(c) Applications of Exemptions.—

“(1) In general.—In applying the exemptions provided in paragraphs (2) through (10) of subsection (b), there shall be a presumption that the public interest will be served by disclosure and release of the records of the Japanese Imperial Government. The exemption may be asserted only when the head of the agency that maintains the records determines that disclosure and release would be harmful to a specific interest identified in the exemption. An agency head who makes such a determination shall promptly report it to the committees of Congress with appropriate jurisdiction, including the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Committee on Government Reform (now Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives.

“(2) Application of title 5.—A determination by an agency head to apply an exemption provided in paragraphs (2) through (9) of subsection (b) shall be subject to the same standard of review that applies in the case of records withheld under section 552(b)(1) of title 5, United States Code.

“(d) Records Related to Investigations or Prosecutions.—This section shall not apply to records—

“(1) related to or supporting any active or inactive investigation, inquiry, or prosecution by the Office of Special Investigations of the Department of Justice; or

“(2) solely in the possession, custody, or control of the Office of Special Investigations.


“SEC. 804. EXPEDITED PROCESSING OF REQUESTS FOR JAPANESE IMPERIAL GOVERNMENT RECORDS.

“For purposes of expedited processing under section 552(a)(6)(E) of title 5, United States Code, any person who was persecuted in the manner described in section 802(a)(3) and who requests a Japanese Imperial Government record shall be deemed to have a compelling need for such record.


“SEC. 805. EFFECTIVE DATE.

“The provisions of this title shall take effect on the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act (Dec. 27, 2000).”


Nazi War Crimes Disclosure

Pub. L. 105–246, Oct. 8, 1998, 112 Stat. 1859, as amended by Pub. L. 106–567, §802(b)(2), Dec. 27, 2000, 114 Stat. 2865, provided that:


“SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

“This Act may be cited as the ‘Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act’.


“SEC. 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF NAZI WAR CRIMINAL RECORDS INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP.

“(a) Definitions.—In this section the term—

“(1) ‘agency’ has the meaning given such term under section 551 of title 5, United States Code;

“(2) ‘Interagency Group’ means the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (redesignated Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, see section 802(b)(1) of Pub. L. 106–567, set out above) established under subsection (b);

“(3) ‘Nazi war criminal records’ has the meaning given such term under section 3 of this Act; and

“(4) ‘record’ means a Nazi war criminal record.

“(b) Establishment of Interagency Group.—

“(1) In general.—Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act (Oct. 8, 1998), the President shall establish the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group, which shall remain in existence for 3 years after the date the Interagency Group is established.

“(2) Membership.—The President shall appoint to the Interagency Group individuals whom the President determines will most completely and effectively carry out the functions of the Interagency Group within the time limitations provided in this section, including the Director of the Holocaust Museum, the Historian of the Department of State, the Archivist of the United States, the head of any other agency the President considers appropriate, and no more than 4 other persons who shall be members of the public, of whom 3 shall be persons appointed under the provisions of this Act in effect on October 8, 1998..(sic) The head of an agency appointed by the President may designate an appropriate officer to serve on the Interagency Group in lieu of the head of such agency.

“(3) Initial meeting.—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Interagency Group shall hold an initial meeting and begin the functions required under this section.

“(c) Functions.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act (Oct. 8, 1998), the Interagency Group shall, to the greatest extent possible consistent with section 3 of this Act—

“(1) locate, identify, inventory, recommend for declassification, and make available to the public at the National Archives and Records Administration, all classified Nazi war criminal records of the United States;

“(2) coordinate with agencies and take such actions as necessary to expedite the release of such records to the public; and

“(3) submit a report to Congress, including the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight (now Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) of the House of Representatives, describing all such records, the disposition of such records, and the activities of the Interagency Group and agencies under this section.

“(d) Funding.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.


“SEC. 3. REQUIREMENT OF DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS REGARDING PERSONS WHO COMMITTED NAZI WAR CRIMES.

“(a) Nazi War Criminal Records.—For purposes of this Act, the term ‘Nazi war criminal records’ means classified records or portions of records that—

“(1) pertain to any person with respect to whom the United States Government, in its sole discretion, has grounds to believe ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion, during the period beginning on March 23, 1933, and ending on May 8, 1945, under the direction of, or in association with—

“(A) the Nazi government of Germany;

“(B) any government in any area occupied by the military forces of the Nazi government of Germany;

“(C) any government established with the assistance or cooperation of the Nazi government of Germany; or

“(D) any government which was an ally of the Nazi government of Germany; or

“(2) pertain to any transaction as to which the United States Government, in its sole discretion, has grounds to believe—

“(A) involved assets taken from persecuted persons during the period beginning on March 23, 1933, and ending on May 8, 1945, by, under the direction of, on behalf of, or under authority granted by the Nazi government of Germany or any nation then allied with that government; and

“(B) such transaction was completed without the assent of the owners of those assets or their heirs or assigns or other legitimate representatives.

“(b) Release of Records.—

“(1) In general.—Subject to paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group shall release in their entirety Nazi war criminal records that are described in subsection (a).

“(2) Exception for privacy, etc.—An agency head may exempt from release under paragraph (1) specific information, that would—

“(A) constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

“(B) reveal the identity of a confidential human source, or reveal information about the application of an intelligence source or method, or reveal the identity of a human intelligence source when the unauthorized disclosure of that source would clearly and demonstrably damage the national security interests of the United States;

“(C) reveal information that would assist in the development or use of weapons of mass destruction;

“(D) reveal information that would impair United States cryptologic systems or activities;

“(E) reveal information that would impair the application of state-of-the-art technology within a United States weapon system;

“(F) reveal actual United States military war plans that remain in effect;

“(G) reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair relations between the United States and a foreign government, or seriously and demonstrably undermine ongoing diplomatic activities of the United States;

“(H) reveal information that would clearly and demonstrably impair the current ability of United States Government officials to protect the President, Vice President, and other officials for whom protection services, in the interest of national security, are authorized;

“(I) reveal information that would seriously and demonstrably impair current national security emergency preparedness plans; or

“(J) violate a treaty or international agreement.

“(3) Application of exemptions.—

“(A) In general.—In applying the exemptions listed in subparagraphs (B) through (J) of paragraph (2), there shall be a presumption that the public interest in the release of Nazi war criminal records will be served by disclosure and release of the records. Assertion of such exemption may only be made when the agency head determines that disclosure and release would be harmful to a specific interest identified in the exemption. An agency head who makes such a determination shall promptly report it to the committees of Congress with appropriate jurisdiction, including the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight (now Committee on Oversight and Government Reform) of the House of Representatives. The exemptions set forth in paragraph (2) shall constitute the only authority pursuant to which an agency head may exempt records otherwise subject to release under paragraph (1).

“(B) Application of title 5.—A determination by an agency head to apply an exemption listed in subparagraphs (B) through (I) of paragraph (2) shall be subject to the same standard of review that applies in the case of records withheld under section 552(b)(1) of title 5, United States Code.

“(4) Limitation on application.—This subsection shall not apply to records—

“(A) related to or supporting any active or inactive investigation, inquiry, or prosecution by the Office of Special Investigations of the Department of Justice; or

“(B) solely in the possession, custody, or control of that office.

“(c) Inapplicability of National Security Act of 1947 Exemption.—Section 701(a) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 431((a))) shall not apply to any operational file, or any portion of any operational file, that constitutes a Nazi war criminal record under section 3 of this Act.


“SEC. 4. EXPEDITED PROCESSING OF FOIA REQUESTS FOR NAZI WAR CRIMINAL RECORDS.

“(a) Expedited Processing.—For purposes of expedited processing under section 552(a)(6)(E) of title 5, United States Code, any requester of a Nazi war criminal record shall be deemed to have a compelling need for such record.

“(b) Requester.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘requester’ means any person who was persecuted in the manner described under section 3(a)(1) of this Act who requests a Nazi war criminal record.


“SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.

“This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the date that is 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act (Oct. 8, 1998).”


Congressional Statement of Findings and Purpose; Public Access to Information in Electronic Format

Section 2 of Pub. L. 104–231 provided that:

“(a) Findings.—The Congress finds that—

“(1) the purpose of section 552 of title 5, United States Code, popularly known as the Freedom of Information Act, is to require agencies of the Federal Government to make certain agency information available for public inspection and copying and to establish and enable enforcement of the right of any person to obtain access to the records of such agencies, subject to statutory exemptions, for any public or private purpose;

“(2) since the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act in 1966, and the amendments enacted in 1974 and 1986, the Freedom of Information Act has been a valuable means through which any person can learn how the Federal Government operates;

“(3) the Freedom of Information Act has led to the disclosure of waste, fraud, abuse, and wrongdoing in the Federal Government;

“(4) the Freedom of Information Act has led to the identification of unsafe consumer products, harmful drugs, and serious health hazards;

“(5) Government agencies increasingly use computers to conduct agency business and to store publicly valuable agency records and information; and

“(6) Government agencies should use new technology to enhance public access to agency records and information.

“(b) Purposes.—The purposes of this Act (see Short Title of 1996 Amendment note above) are to—

“(1) foster democracy by ensuring public access to agency records and information;

“(2) improve public access to agency records and information;

“(3) ensure agency compliance with statutory time limits; and

“(4) maximize the usefulness of agency records and information collected, maintained, used, retained, and disseminated by the Federal Government.”


Freedom of Information Act Exemption for Certain Open Skies Treaty Data

Pub. L. 103–236, title V, §533, Apr. 30, 1994, 108 Stat. 480, provided that:

“(a) In General.—Data with respect to a foreign country collected by sensors during observation flights conducted in connection with the Treaty on Open Skies, including flights conducted prior to entry into force of the treaty, shall be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act—

“(1) if the country has not disclosed the data to the public; and

“(2) if the country has not, acting through the Open Skies Consultative Commission or any other diplomatic channel, authorized the United States to disclose the data to the public.

“(b) Statutory Construction.—This section constitutes a specific exemption within the meaning of section 552(b)(3) of title 5, United States Code.

“(c) Definitions.—For the purposes of this section—

“(1) the term ‘Freedom of Information Act’ means the provisions of section 552 of title 5, United States Code;

“(2) the term ‘Open Skies Consultative Commission’ means the commission established pursuant to Article X of the Treaty on Open Skies; and

“(3) the term ‘Treaty on Open Skies’ means the Treaty on Open Skies, signed at Helsinki on March 24, 1992.”


Classified National Security Information

For provisions relating to a response to a request for information under this section when the fact of its existence or nonexistence is itself classified or when it was originally classified by another agency, see Ex. Ord. No. 13526, §3.6, Dec. 29, 2009, 75 F.R. 718, set out as a note under section 435 of Title 50, War and National Defense.


Executive Order No. 12174

Ex. Ord. No. 12174, Nov. 30, 1979, 44 F.R. 69609, which related to minimizing Federal paperwork, was revoked by Ex. Ord. No. 12291, Feb. 17, 1981, 46 F.R. 13193, formerly set out as a note under section 601 of this title.


Ex. Ord. No. 12600. Predisclosure Notification Procedures for Confidential Commercial Information

Ex. Ord. No. 12600, June 23, 1987, 52 F.R. 23781, provided:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States of America, and in order to provide predisclosure notification procedures under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) concerning confidential commercial information, and to make existing agency notification provisions more uniform, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. The head of each Executive department and agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) shall, to the extent permitted by law, establish procedures to notify submitters of records containing confidential commercial information as described in section 3 of this Order, when those records are requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended, if after reviewing the request, the responsive records, and any appeal by the requester, the department or agency determines that it may be required to disclose the records. Such notice requires that an agency use good-faith efforts to advise submitters of confidential commercial information of the procedures established under this Order. Further, where notification of a voluminous number of submitters is required, such notification may be accomplished by posting or publishing the notice in a place reasonably calculated to accomplish notification.

Sec. 2. For purposes of this Order, the following definitions apply:

(a) “Confidential commercial information” means records provided to the government by a submitter that arguably contain material exempt from release under Exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4), because disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm.

(b) “Submitter” means any person or entity who provides confidential commercial information to the government. The term “submitter” includes, but is not limited to, corporations, state governments, and foreign governments.

Sec. 3. (a) For confidential commercial information submitted prior to January 1, 1988, the head of each Executive department or agency shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide a submitter with notice pursuant to section 1 whenever:

(i) the records are less than 10 years old and the information has been designated by the submitter as confidential commercial information; or

(ii) the department or agency has reason to believe that disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm.

(b) For confidential commercial information submitted on or after January 1, 1988, the head of each Executive department or agency shall, to the extent permitted by law, establish procedures to permit submitters of confidential commercial information to designate, at the time the information is submitted to the Federal government or a reasonable time thereafter, any information the disclosure of which the submitter claims could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm. Such agency procedures may provide for the expiration, after a specified period of time or changes in circumstances, of designations of competitive harm made by submitters. Additionally, such procedures may permit the agency to designate specific classes of information that will be treated by the agency as if the information had been so designated by the submitter. The head of each Executive department or agency shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide the submitter notice in accordance with section 1 of this Order whenever the department or agency determines that it may be required to disclose records:

(i) designated pursuant to this subsection; or

(ii) the disclosure of which the department or agency has reason to believe could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm.

Sec. 4. When notification is made pursuant to section 1, each agency's procedures shall, to the extent permitted by law, afford the submitter a reasonable period of time in which the submitter or its designee may object to the disclosure of any specified portion of the information and to state all grounds upon which disclosure is opposed.

Sec. 5. Each agency shall give careful consideration to all such specified grounds for nondisclosure prior to making an administrative determination of the issue. In all instances when the agency determines to disclose the requested records, its procedures shall provide that the agency give the submitter a written statement briefly explaining why the submitter's objections are not sustained. Such statement shall, to the extent permitted by law, be provided a reasonable number of days prior to a specified disclosure date.

Sec. 6. Whenever a FOIA requester brings suit seeking to compel disclosure of confidential commercial information, each agency's procedures shall require that the submitter be promptly notified.

Sec. 7. The designation and notification procedures required by this Order shall be established by regulations, after notice and public comment. If similar procedures or regulations already exist, they should be reviewed for conformity and revised where necessary. Existing procedures or regulations need not be modified if they are in compliance with this Order.

Sec. 8. The notice requirements of this Order need not be followed if:

(a) The agency determines that the information should not be disclosed;

(b) The information has been published or has been officially made available to the public;

(c) Disclosure of the information is required by law (other than 5 U.S.C. 552);

(d) The disclosure is required by an agency rule that (1) was adopted pursuant to notice and public comment, (2) specifies narrow classes of records submitted to the agency that are to be released under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), and (3) provides in exceptional circumstances for notice when the submitter provides written justification, at the time the information is submitted or a reasonable time thereafter, that disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm;

(e) The information requested is not designated by the submitter as exempt from disclosure in accordance with agency regulations promulgated pursuant to section 7, when the submitter had an opportunity to do so at the time of submission of the information or a reasonable time thereafter, unless the agency has substantial reason to believe that disclosure of the information would result in competitive harm; or

(f) The designation made by the submitter in accordance with agency regulations promulgated pursuant to section 7 appears obviously frivolous; except that, in such case, the agency must provide the submitter with written notice of any final administrative disclosure determination within a reasonable number of days prior to the specified disclosure date.

Sec. 9. Whenever an agency notifies a submitter that it may be required to disclose information pursuant to section 1 of this Order, the agency shall also notify the requester that notice and an opportunity to comment are being provided the submitter. Whenever an agency notifies a submitter of a final decision pursuant to section 5 of this Order, the agency shall also notify the requester.

Sec. 10. This Order is intended only to improve the internal management of the Federal government, and is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any person.

Ronald Reagan.


Ex. Ord. No. 13110. Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group

Ex. Ord. No. 13110, Jan. 11, 1999, 64 F.R. 2419, provided:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act (Public Law 105–246) (the “Act”) (5 U.S.C. 552 note), it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment of Working Group. There is hereby established the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (now Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group) (Working Group). The function of the Group shall be to locate, inventory, recommend for declassification, and make available to the public at the National Archives and Records Administration all classified Nazi war criminal records of the United States, subject to certain designated exceptions as provided in the Act. The Working Group shall coordinate with agencies and take such actions as necessary to expedite the release of such records to the public.

Sec. 2. Schedule. The Working Group should complete its work to the greatest extent possible and report to the Congress within 1 year.

Sec. 3. Membership. (a) The Working Group shall be composed of the following members:

(1) Archivist of the United States (who shall serve as Chair of the Working Group);

(2) Secretary of Defense;

(3) Attorney General;

(4) Director of Central Intelligence;

(5) Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation;

(6) Director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum;

(7) Historian of the Department of State; and

(8) Three other persons appointed by the President.

(b) The Senior Director for Records and Access Management of the National Security Council will serve as the liaison to and attend the meetings of the Working Group. Members of the Working Group who are full-time Federal officials may serve on the Working Group through designees.

Sec. 4. Administration. (a) To the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the National Archives and Records Administration shall provide the Working Group with funding, administrative services, facilities, staff, and other support services necessary for the performance of the functions of the Working Group.

(b) The Working Group shall terminate 3 years from the date of this Executive order.

William J. Clinton.


Ex. Ord. No. 13392. Improving Agency Disclosure of Information

Ex. Ord. No. 13392, Dec. 14, 2005, 70 F.R. 75373, provided:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to ensure appropriate agency disclosure of information, and consistent with the goals of section 552 of title 5, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy.

(a) The effective functioning of our constitutional democracy depends upon the participation in public life of a citizenry that is well informed. For nearly four decades, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552) has provided an important means through which the public can obtain information regarding the activities of Federal agencies. Under the FOIA, the public can obtain records from any Federal agency, subject to the exemptions enacted by the Congress to protect information that must be held in confidence for the Government to function effectively or for other purposes.

(b) FOIA requesters are seeking a service from the Federal Government and should be treated as such. Accordingly, in responding to a FOIA request, agencies shall respond courteously and appropriately. Moreover, agencies shall provide FOIA requesters, and the public in general, with citizen-centered ways to learn about the FOIA process, about agency records that are publicly available (e.g., on the agency's website), and about the status of a person's FOIA request and appropriate information about the agency's response.

(c) Agency FOIA operations shall be both results-oriented and produce results. Accordingly, agencies shall process requests under the FOIA in an efficient and appropriate manner and achieve tangible, measurable improvements in FOIA processing. When an agency's FOIA program does not produce such results, it should be reformed, consistent with available resources appropriated by the Congress and applicable law, to increase efficiency and better reflect the policy goals and objectives of this order.

(d) A citizen-centered and results-oriented approach will improve service and performance, thereby strengthening compliance with the FOIA, and will help avoid disputes and related litigation.

Sec. 2. Agency Chief FOIA Officers.

(a) Designation. The head of each agency shall designate within 30 days of the date of this order a senior official of such agency (at the Assistant Secretary or equivalent level), to serve as the Chief FOIA Officer of that agency. The head of the agency shall promptly notify the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB Director) and the Attorney General of such designation and of any changes thereafter in such designation.

(b) General Duties. The Chief FOIA Officer of each agency shall, subject to the authority of the head of the agency:

(i) have agency-wide responsibility for efficient and appropriate compliance with the FOIA;

(ii) monitor FOIA implementation throughout the agency, including through the use of meetings with the public to the extent deemed appropriate by the agency's Chief FOIA Officer, and keep the head of the agency, the chief legal officer of the agency, and the Attorney General appropriately informed of the agency's performance in implementing the FOIA, including the extent to which the agency meets the milestones in the agency's plan under section 3(b) of this order and training and reporting standards established consistent with applicable law and this order;

(iii) recommend to the head of the agency such adjustments to agency practices, policies, personnel, and funding as may be necessary to carry out the policy set forth in section 1 of this order;

(iv) review and report, through the head of the agency, at such times and in such formats as the Attorney General may direct, on the agency's performance in implementing the FOIA; and

(v) facilitate public understanding of the purposes of the FOIA's statutory exemptions by including concise descriptions of the exemptions in both the agency's FOIA handbook issued under section 552(g) of title 5, United States Code, and the agency's annual FOIA report, and by providing an overview, where appropriate, of certain general categories of agency records to which those exemptions apply.

(c) FOIA Requester Service Center and FOIA Public Liaisons. In order to ensure appropriate communication with FOIA requesters:

(i) Each agency shall establish one or more FOIA Requester Service Centers (Center), as appropriate, which shall serve as the first place that a FOIA requester can contact to seek information concerning the status of the person's FOIA request and appropriate information about the agency's FOIA response. The Center shall include appropriate staff to receive and respond to inquiries from FOIA requesters;

(ii) The agency Chief FOIA Officer shall designate one or more agency officials, as appropriate, as FOIA Public Liaisons, who may serve in the Center or who may serve in a separate office. FOIA Public Liaisons shall serve as supervisory officials to whom a FOIA requester can raise concerns about the service the FOIA requester has received from the Center, following an initial response from the Center staff. FOIA Public Liaisons shall seek to ensure a service-oriented response to FOIA requests and FOIA-related inquiries. For example, the FOIA Public Liaison shall assist, as appropriate, in reducing delays, increasing transparency and understanding of the status of requests, and resolving disputes. FOIA Public Liaisons shall report to the agency Chief FOIA Officer on their activities and shall perform their duties consistent with applicable law and agency regulations;

(iii) In addition to the services to FOIA requesters provided by the Center and FOIA Public Liaisons, the agency Chief FOIA Officer shall also consider what other FOIA-related assistance to the public should appropriately be provided by the agency;

(iv) In establishing the Centers and designating FOIA Public Liaisons, the agency shall use, as appropriate, existing agency staff and resources. A Center shall have appropriate staff to receive and respond to inquiries from FOIA requesters;

(v) As determined by the agency Chief FOIA Officer, in consultation with the FOIA Public Liaisons, each agency shall post appropriate information about its Center or Centers on the agency's website, including contact information for its FOIA Public Liaisons. In the case of an agency without a website, the agency shall publish the information on the Firstgov.gov website or, in the case of any agency with neither a website nor the capability to post on the Firstgov.gov website, in the Federal Register; and

(vi) The agency Chief FOIA Officer shall ensure that the agency has in place a method (or methods), including through the use of the Center, to receive and respond promptly and appropriately to inquiries from FOIA requesters about the status of their requests. The Chief FOIA Officer shall also consider, in consultation with the FOIA Public Liaisons, as appropriate, whether the agency's implementation of other means (such as tracking numbers for requests, or an agency telephone or Internet hotline) would be appropriate for responding to status inquiries.

Sec. 3. Review, Plan, and Report.

(a) Review. Each agency's Chief FOIA Officer shall conduct a review of the agency's FOIA operations to determine whether agency practices are consistent with the policies set forth in section 1 of this order. In conducting this review, the Chief FOIA Officer shall:

(i) evaluate, with reference to numerical and statistical benchmarks where appropriate, the agency's administration of the FOIA, including the agency's expenditure of resources on FOIA compliance and the extent to which, if any, requests for records have not been responded to within the statutory time limit (backlog);

(ii) review the processes and practices by which the agency assists and informs the public regarding the FOIA process;

(iii) examine the agency's:

(A) use of information technology in responding to FOIA requests, including without limitation the tracking of FOIA requests and communication with requesters;

(B) practices with respect to requests for expedited processing; and

(C) implementation of multi-track processing if used by such agency;

(iv) review the agency's policies and practices relating to the availability of public information through websites and other means, including the use of websites to make available the records described in section 552(a)(2) of title 5, United States Code; and

(v) identify ways to eliminate or reduce its FOIA backlog, consistent with available resources and taking into consideration the volume and complexity of the FOIA requests pending with the agency.

(b) Plan.

(i) Each agency's Chief FOIA Officer shall develop, in consultation as appropriate with the staff of the agency (including the FOIA Public Liaisons), the Attorney General, and the OMB Director, an agency-specific plan to ensure that the agency's administration of the FOIA is in accordance with applicable law and the policies set forth in section 1 of this order. The plan, which shall be submitted to the head of the agency for approval, shall address the agency's implementation of the FOIA during fiscal years 2006 and 2007.

(ii) The plan shall include specific activities that the agency will implement to eliminate or reduce the agency's FOIA backlog, including (as applicable) changes that will make the processing of FOIA requests more streamlined and effective, as well as increased reliance on the dissemination of records that can be made available to the public through a website or other means that do not require the public to make a request for the records under the FOIA.

(iii) The plan shall also include activities to increase public awareness of FOIA processing, including as appropriate, expanded use of the agency's Center and its FOIA Public Liaisons.

(iv) The plan shall also include, taking appropriate account of the resources available to the agency and the mission of the agency, concrete milestones, with specific timetables and outcomes to be achieved, by which the head of the agency, after consultation with the OMB Director, shall measure and evaluate the agency's success in the implementation of the plan.

(c) Agency Reports to the Attorney General and OMB Director.

(i) The head of each agency shall submit a report, no later than 6 months from the date of this order, to the Attorney General and the OMB Director that summarizes the results of the review under section 3(a) of this order and encloses a copy of the agency's plan under section 3(b) of this order. The agency shall publish a copy of the agency's report on the agency's website or, in the case of an agency without a website, on the Firstgov.gov website, or, in the case of any agency with neither a website nor the capability to publish on the Firstgov.gov website, in the Federal Register.

(ii) The head of each agency shall include in the agency's annual FOIA reports for fiscal years 2006 and 2007 a report on the agency's development and implementation of its plan under section 3(b) of this order and on the agency's performance in meeting the milestones set forth in that plan, consistent with any related guidelines the Attorney General may issue under section 552(e) of title 5, United States Code.

(iii) If the agency does not meet a milestone in its plan, the head of the agency shall:

(A) identify this deficiency in the annual FOIA report to the Attorney General;

(B) explain in the annual report the reasons for the agency's failure to meet the milestone;

(C) outline in the annual report the steps that the agency has already taken, and will be taking, to address the deficiency; and

(D) report this deficiency to the President's Management Council.

Sec. 4. Attorney General.

(a) Report. The Attorney General, using the reports submitted by the agencies under subsection 3(c)(i) of this order and the information submitted by agencies in their annual FOIA reports for fiscal year 2005, shall submit to the President, no later than 10 months from the date of this order, a report on agency FOIA implementation. The Attorney General shall consult the OMB Director in the preparation of the report and shall include in the report appropriate recommendations on administrative or other agency actions for continued agency dissemination and release of public information. The Attorney General shall thereafter submit two further annual reports, by June 1, 2007, and June 1, 2008, that provide the President with an update on the agencies’ implementation of the FOIA and of their plans under section 3(b) of this order.

(b) Guidance. The Attorney General shall issue such instructions and guidance to the heads of departments and agencies as may be appropriate to implement sections 3(b) and 3(c) of this order.

Sec. 5. OMB Director. The OMB Director may issue such instructions to the heads of agencies as are necessary to implement this order, other than sections 3(b) and 3(c) of this order.

Sec. 6. Definitions. As used in this order:

(a) the term “agency” has the same meaning as the term “agency” under section 552(f)(1) of title 5, United States Code; and

(b) the term “record” has the same meaning as the term “record” under section 552(f)(2) of title 5, United States Code.

Sec. 7. General Provisions.

(a) The agency reviews under section 3(a) of this order and agency plans under section 3(b) of this order shall be conducted and developed in accordance with applicable law and applicable guidance issued by the President, the Attorney General, and the OMB Director, including the laws and guidance regarding information technology and the dissemination of information.

(b) This order:

(i) shall be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations;

(ii) shall not be construed to impair or otherwise affect the functions of the OMB Director relating to budget, legislative, or administrative proposals; and

(iii) is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

George W. Bush.


Freedom of Information Act

Memorandum of President of the United States, Jan. 21, 2009, 74 F.R. 4683, provided:

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” In our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government. At the heart of that commitment is the idea that accountability is in the interest of the Government and the citizenry alike.

The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.

All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.

The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely.

I direct the Attorney General to issue new guidelines governing the FOIA to the heads of executive departments and agencies, reaffirming the commitment to accountability and transparency, and to publish such guidelines in the Federal Register. In doing so, the Attorney General should review FOIA reports produced by the agencies under Executive Order 13392 of December 14, 2005. I also direct the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to update guidance to the agencies to increase and improve information dissemination to the public, including through the use of new technologies, and to publish such guidance in the Federal Register.

This memorandum does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

Barack Obama.


§552a. Records maintained on individuals

(a) Definitions.—For purposes of this section—

(1) the term “agency” means agency as defined in section 552(e) 1 of this title;

(2) the term “individual” means a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;

(3) the term “maintain” includes maintain, collect, use, or disseminate;

(4) the term “record” means any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency, including, but not limited to, his education, financial transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history and that contains his name, or the identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a finger or voice print or a photograph;

(5) the term “system of records” means a group of any records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual;

(6) the term “statistical record” means a record in a system of records maintained for statistical research or reporting purposes only and not used in whole or in part in making any determination about an identifiable individual, except as provided by section 8 of title 13;

(7) the term “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;

(8) the term “matching program”—

(A) means any computerized comparison of—

(i) two or more automated systems of records or a system of records with non-Federal records for the purpose of—

(I) establishing or verifying the eligibility of, or continuing compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements by, applicants for, recipients or beneficiaries of, participants in, or providers of services with respect to, cash or in-kind assistance or payments under Federal benefit programs, or

(II) recouping payments or delinquent debts under such Federal benefit programs, or


(ii) two or more automated Federal personnel or payroll systems of records or a system of Federal personnel or payroll records with non-Federal records,


(B) but does not include—

(i) matches performed to produce aggregate statistical data without any personal identifiers;

(ii) matches performed to support any research or statistical project, the specific data of which may not be used to make decisions concerning the rights, benefits, or privileges of specific individuals;

(iii) matches performed, by an agency (or component thereof) which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws, subsequent to the initiation of a specific criminal or civil law enforcement investigation of a named person or persons for the purpose of gathering evidence against such person or persons;

(iv) matches of tax information (I) pursuant to section 6103(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, (II) for purposes of tax administration as defined in section 6103(b)(4) of such Code, (III) for the purpose of intercepting a tax refund due an individual under authority granted by section 404(e), 464, or 1137 of the Social Security Act; or (IV) for the purpose of intercepting a tax refund due an individual under any other tax refund intercept program authorized by statute which has been determined by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to contain verification, notice, and hearing requirements that are substantially similar to the procedures in section 1137 of the Social Security Act;

(v) matches—

(I) using records predominantly relating to Federal personnel, that are performed for routine administrative purposes (subject to guidance provided by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to subsection (v)); or

(II) conducted by an agency using only records from systems of records maintained by that agency;


if the purpose of the match is not to take any adverse financial, personnel, disciplinary, or other adverse action against Federal personnel;

(vi) matches performed for foreign counterintelligence purposes or to produce background checks for security clearances of Federal personnel or Federal contractor personnel;

(vii) matches performed incident to a levy described in section 6103(k)(8) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(viii) matches performed pursuant to section 202(x)(3) or 1611(e)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 402(x)(3), 1382(e)(1)); or

(ix) matches performed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services with respect to potential fraud, waste, and abuse, including matches of a system of records with non-Federal records;


(9) the term “recipient agency” means any agency, or contractor thereof, receiving records contained in a system of records from a source agency for use in a matching program;

(10) the term “non-Federal agency” means any State or local government, or agency thereof, which receives records contained in a system of records from a source agency for use in a matching program;

(11) the term “source agency” means any agency which discloses records contained in a system of records to be used in a matching program, or any State or local government, or agency thereof, which discloses records to be used in a matching program;

(12) the term “Federal benefit program” means any program administered or funded by the Federal Government, or by any agent or State on behalf of the Federal Government, providing cash or in-kind assistance in the form of payments, grants, loans, or loan guarantees to individuals; and

(13) the term “Federal personnel” means officers and employees of the Government of the United States, members of the uniformed services (including members of the Reserve Components), individuals entitled to receive immediate or deferred retirement benefits under any retirement program of the Government of the United States (including survivor benefits).


(b) Conditions of Disclosure.—No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a 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—

(1) to those officers and employees of the agency which maintains the record who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties;

(2) required under section 552 of this title;

(3) for a routine use as defined in subsection (a)(7) of this section and described under subsection (e)(4)(D) of this section;

(4) 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;

(5) to a recipient who has provided the agency 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;

(6) to the National Archives and Records Administration 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;

(7) to another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a 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 agency which maintains the record specifying the particular portion desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought;

(8) to a person pursuant to a showing of compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual if upon such disclosure notification is transmitted to the last known address of such individual;

(9) 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;

(10) to the Comptroller General, or any of his authorized representatives, in the course of the performance of the duties of the Government Accountability Office;

(11) pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or

(12) to a consumer reporting agency in accordance with section 3711(e) of title 31.


(c) Accounting of Certain Disclosures.—Each agency, with respect to each system of records under its control, shall—

(1) except for disclosures made under subsections (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section, keep an accurate accounting of—

(A) the date, nature, and purpose of each disclosure of a record to any person or to another agency made under subsection (b) of this section; and

(B) the name and address of the person or agency to whom the disclosure is made;


(2) retain the accounting made under paragraph (1) of this subsection for at least five years or the life of the record, whichever is longer, after the disclosure for which the accounting is made;

(3) except for disclosures made under subsection (b)(7) of this section, make the accounting made under paragraph (1) of this subsection available to the individual named in the record at his request; and

(4) inform any person or other agency about any correction or notation of dispute made by the agency in accordance with subsection (d) of this section of any record that has been disclosed to the person or agency if an accounting of the disclosure was made.


(d) Access to Records.—Each agency that maintains a system of records shall—

(1) upon request by any individual to gain access to his record or to any information pertaining to him which is contained in the system, permit him and upon his request, a person of his own choosing to accompany him, to review the record and have a copy made of all or any portion thereof in a form comprehensible to him, except that the agency may require the individual to furnish a written statement authorizing discussion of that individual's record in the accompanying person's presence;

(2) permit the individual to request amendment of a record pertaining to him and—

(A) not later than 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the date of receipt of such request, acknowledge in writing such receipt; and

(B) promptly, either—

(i) make any correction of any portion thereof which the individual believes is not accurate, relevant, timely, or complete; or

(ii) inform the individual of its refusal to amend the record in accordance with his request, the reason for the refusal, the procedures established by the agency for the individual to request a review of that refusal by the head of the agency or an officer designated by the head of the agency, and the name and business address of that official;


(3) permit the individual who disagrees with the refusal of the agency to amend his record to request a review of such refusal, and not later than 30 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) from the date on which the individual requests such review, complete such review and make a final determination unless, for good cause shown, the head of the agency extends such 30-day period; and if, after his review, the reviewing official also refuses to amend the record in accordance with the request, permit the individual to file with the agency a concise statement setting forth the reasons for his disagreement with the refusal of the agency, and notify the individual of the provisions for judicial review of the reviewing official's determination under subsection (g)(1)(A) of this section;

(4) in any disclosure, containing information about which the individual has filed a statement of disagreement, occurring after the filing of the statement under paragraph (3) of this subsection, clearly note any portion of the record which is disputed and provide copies of the statement and, if the agency deems it appropriate, copies of a concise statement of the reasons of the agency for not making the amendments requested, to persons or other agencies to whom the disputed record has been disclosed; and

(5) nothing in this section shall allow an individual access to any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding.


(e) Agency Requirements.—Each agency that maintains a system of records shall—

(1) maintain in its records only such information about an individual as is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required to be accomplished by statute or by executive order of the President;

(2) collect information to the greatest extent practicable directly from the subject individual when the information may result in adverse determinations about an individual's rights, benefits, and privileges under Federal programs;

(3) inform each individual whom it asks to supply information, on the form which it uses to collect the information or on a separate form that can be retained by the individual—

(A) the authority (whether granted by statute, or by executive order of the President) which authorizes the solicitation of the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory or voluntary;

(B) the principal purpose or purposes for which the information is intended to be used;

(C) the routine uses which may be made of the information, as published pursuant to paragraph (4)(D) of this subsection; and

(D) the effects on him, if any, of not providing all or any part of the requested information;


(4) subject to the provisions of paragraph (11) of this subsection, publish in the Federal Register upon establishment or revision a notice of the existence and character of the system of records, which notice shall include—

(A) the name and location of the system;

(B) the categories of individuals on whom records are maintained in the system;

(C) the categories of records maintained in the system;

(D) each routine use of the records contained in the system, including the categories of users and the purpose of such use;

(E) the policies and practices of the agency regarding storage, retrievability, access controls, retention, and disposal of the records;

(F) the title and business address of the agency official who is responsible for the system of records;

(G) the agency procedures whereby an individual can be notified at his request if the system of records contains a record pertaining to him;

(H) the agency procedures whereby an individual can be notified at his request how he can gain access to any record pertaining to him contained in the system of records, and how he can contest its content; and

(I) the categories of sources of records in the system;


(5) maintain all records which are used by the agency in making any determination about any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as is reasonably necessary to assure fairness to the individual in the determination;

(6) prior to disseminating any record about an individual to any person other than an agency, unless the dissemination is made pursuant to subsection (b)(2) of this section, make reasonable efforts to assure that such records are accurate, complete, timely, and relevant for agency purposes;

(7) maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment 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;

(8) make reasonable efforts to serve notice on an individual when any record on such individual is made available to any person under compulsory legal process when such process becomes a matter of public record;

(9) establish rules of conduct for persons involved in the design, development, operation, or maintenance of any system of records, or in maintaining any record, and instruct each such person with respect to such rules and the requirements of this section, including any other rules and procedures adopted pursuant to this section and the penalties for noncompliance;

(10) establish appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to insure the security and confidentiality of records and to protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to their security or integrity which could result in substantial harm, embarrassment, inconvenience, or unfairness to any individual on whom information is maintained;

(11) at least 30 days prior to publication of information under paragraph (4)(D) of this subsection, publish in the Federal Register notice of any new use or intended use of the information in the system, and provide an opportunity for interested persons to submit written data, views, or arguments to the agency; and

(12) if such agency is a recipient agency or a source agency in a matching program with a non-Federal agency, with respect to any establishment or revision of a matching program, at least 30 days prior to conducting such program, publish in the Federal Register notice of such establishment or revision.


(f) Agency Rules.—In order to carry out the provisions of this section, each agency that maintains a system of records shall promulgate rules, in accordance with the requirements (including general notice) of section 553 of this title, which shall—

(1) establish procedures whereby an individual can be notified in response to his request if any system of records named by the individual contains a record pertaining to him;

(2) define reasonable times, places, and requirements for identifying an individual who requests his record or information pertaining to him before the agency shall make the record or information available to the individual;

(3) establish procedures for the disclosure to an individual upon his request of his record or information pertaining to him, including special procedure, if deemed necessary, for the disclosure to an individual of medical records, including psychological records, pertaining to him;

(4) establish procedures for reviewing a request from an individual concerning the amendment of any record or information pertaining to the individual, for making a determination on the request, for an appeal within the agency of an initial adverse agency determination, and for whatever additional means may be necessary for each individual to be able to exercise fully his rights under this section; and

(5) establish fees to be charged, if any, to any individual for making copies of his record, excluding the cost of any search for and review of the record.


The Office of the Federal Register shall biennially compile and publish the rules promulgated under this subsection and agency notices published under subsection (e)(4) of this section in a form available to the public at low cost.

(g)(1) Civil Remedies.—Whenever any agency

(A) makes a determination under subsection (d)(3) of this section not to amend an individual's record in accordance with his request, or fails to make such review in conformity with that subsection;

(B) refuses to comply with an individual request under subsection (d)(1) of this section;

(C) fails to maintain any record concerning any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as is necessary to assure fairness in any determination relating to the qualifications, character, rights, or opportunities of, or benefits to the individual that may be made on the basis of such record, and consequently a determination is made which is adverse to the individual; or

(D) fails to comply with any other provision of this section, or any rule promulgated thereunder, in such a way as to have an adverse effect on an individual,


the individual may bring a civil action against the agency, and the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction in the matters under the provisions of this subsection.

(2)(A) In any suit brought under the provisions of subsection (g)(1)(A) of this section, the court may order the agency to amend the individual's record in accordance with his request or in such other way as the court may direct. In such a case the court shall determine the matter de novo.

(B) The court may assess against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in any case under this paragraph in which the complainant has substantially prevailed.

(3)(A) In any suit brought under the provisions of subsection (g)(1)(B) of this section, the court may enjoin the agency from withholding the records and order the production to the complainant of any agency records improperly withheld from him. In such a case the court shall determine the matter de novo, and may examine the contents of any agency records in camera to determine whether the records or any portion thereof may be withheld under any of the exemptions set forth in subsection (k) of this section, and the burden is on the agency to sustain its action.

(B) The court may assess against the United States reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in any case under this paragraph in which the complainant has substantially prevailed.

(4) In any suit brought under the provisions of subsection (g)(1)(C) or (D) of this section in which the court determines that the agency acted in a manner which was intentional or willful, the United States shall be liable to the individual in an amount equal to the sum of—

(A) actual damages sustained by the individual as a result of the refusal or failure, but in no case shall a person entitled to recovery receive less than the sum of $1,000; and

(B) the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court.


(5) An action to enforce any liability created under this section may be brought in the district court of the United States in the district in which the complainant resides, or has his principal place of business, or in which the agency records are situated, or in the District of Columbia, without regard to the amount in controversy, within two years from the date on which the cause of action arises, except that where an agency has materially and willfully misrepresented any information required under this section to be disclosed to an individual and the information so misrepresented is material to establishment of the liability of the agency to the individual under this section, the action may be brought at any time within two years after discovery by the individual of the misrepresentation. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize any civil action by reason of any injury sustained as the result of a disclosure of a record prior to September 27, 1975.

(h) Rights of Legal Guardians.—For the purposes of this section, the parent of any minor, or the legal guardian of any individual who has been declared to be incompetent due to physical or mental incapacity or age by a court of competent jurisdiction, may act on behalf of the individual.

(i)(1) Criminal Penalties.—Any officer or employee of an agency, who by virtue of his employment or official position, has possession of, or access to, agency records which contain individually identifiable information the disclosure of which is prohibited by this section or by rules or regulations established thereunder, and who knowing that disclosure of the specific material is so prohibited, willfully discloses the material in any manner to any person or agency not entitled to receive it, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

(2) Any officer or employee of any agency who willfully maintains a system of records without meeting the notice requirements of subsection (e)(4) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

(3) Any person who knowingly and willfully requests or obtains any record concerning an individual from an agency under false pretenses shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

(j) General Exemptions.—The head of any agency may promulgate rules, in accordance with the requirements (including general notice) of sections 553(b)(1), (2), and (3), (c), and (e) of this title, to exempt any system of records within the agency from any part of this section except subsections (b), (c)(1) and (2), (e)(4)(A) through (F), (e)(6), (7), (9), (10), and (11), and (i) if the system of records is—

(1) maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency; or

(2) maintained by an agency or component thereof which performs as its principal function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws, including police efforts to prevent, control, or reduce crime or to apprehend criminals, and the activities of prosecutors, courts, correctional, probation, pardon, or parole authorities, and which consists of (A) information compiled for the purpose of identifying individual criminal offenders and alleged offenders and consisting only of identifying data and notations of arrests, the nature and disposition of criminal charges, sentencing, confinement, release, and parole and probation status; (B) information compiled for the purpose of a criminal investigation, including reports of informants and investigators, and associated with an identifiable individual; or (C) reports identifiable to an individual compiled at any stage of the process of enforcement of the criminal laws from arrest or indictment through release from supervision.


At the time rules are adopted under this subsection, the agency shall include in the statement required under section 553(c) of this title, the reasons why the system of records is to be exempted from a provision of this section.

(k) Specific Exemptions.—The head of any agency may promulgate rules, in accordance with the requirements (including general notice) of sections 553(b)(1), (2), and (3), (c), and (e) of this title, to exempt any system of records within the agency from subsections (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I) and (f) of this section if the system of records is—

(1) subject to the provisions of section 552(b)(1) of this title;

(2) investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection (j)(2) of this section: Provided, however, That if any individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit that he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law, or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of such material, such material shall be provided to such individual, except to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to the Government under an express promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence, or, prior to the effective date of this section, under an implied promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence;

(3) maintained in connection with providing protective services to the President of the United States or other individuals pursuant to section 3056 of title 18;

(4) required by statute to be maintained and used solely as statistical records;

(5) investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for Federal civilian employment, military service, Federal contracts, or access to classified information, but only to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to the Government under an express promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence, or, prior to the effective date of this section, under an implied promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence;

(6) testing or examination material used solely to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in the Federal service the disclosure of which would compromise the objectivity or fairness of the testing or examination process; or

(7) evaluation material used to determine potential for promotion in the armed services, but only to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to the Government under an express promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence, or, prior to the effective date of this section, under an implied promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence.


At the time rules are adopted under this subsection, the agency shall include in the statement required under section 553(c) of this title, the reasons why the system of records is to be exempted from a provision of this section.

(l)(1) Archival Records.—Each agency record which is accepted by the Archivist of the United States for storage, processing, and servicing in accordance with section 3103 of title 44 shall, for the purposes of this section, be considered to be maintained by the agency which deposited the record and shall be subject to the provisions of this section. The Archivist of the United States shall not disclose the record except to the agency which maintains the record, or under rules established by that agency which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this section.

(2) Each agency record pertaining to an identifiable individual which was transferred to the National Archives of the United States as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the United States Government, prior to the effective date of this section, shall, for the purposes of this section, be considered to be maintained by the National Archives and shall not be subject to the provisions of this section, except that a statement generally describing such records (modeled after the requirements relating to records subject to subsections (e)(4)(A) through (G) of this section) shall be published in the Federal Register.

(3) Each agency record pertaining to an identifiable individual which is transferred to the National Archives of the United States as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the United States Government, on or after the effective date of this section, shall, for the purposes of this section, be considered to be maintained by the National Archives and shall be exempt from the requirements of this section except subsections (e)(4)(A) through (G) and (e)(9) of this section.

(m)(1) Government Contractors.—When an agency provides by a contract for the operation by or on behalf of the agency of a system of records to accomplish an agency function, the agency shall, consistent with its authority, cause the requirements of this section to be applied to such system. For purposes of subsection (i) of this section any such contractor and any employee of such contractor, if such contract is agreed to on or after the effective date of this section, shall be considered to be an employee of an agency.

(2) A consumer reporting agency to which a record is disclosed under section 3711(e) of title 31 shall not be considered a contractor for the purposes of this section.

(n) Mailing Lists.—An individual's name and address may not be sold or rented by an agency unless such action is specifically authorized by law. This provision shall not be construed to require the withholding of names and addresses otherwise permitted to be made public.

(o) Matching Agreements.—(1) No record which is contained in a system of records may be disclosed to a recipient agency or non-Federal agency for use in a computer matching program except pursuant to a written agreement between the source agency and the recipient agency or non-Federal agency specifying—

(A) the purpose and legal authority for conducting the program;

(B) the justification for the program and the anticipated results, including a specific estimate of any savings;

(C) a description of the records that will be matched, including each data element that will be used, the approximate number of records that will be matched, and the projected starting and completion dates of the matching program;

(D) procedures for providing individualized notice at the time of application, and notice periodically thereafter as directed by the Data Integrity Board of such agency (subject to guidance provided by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to subsection (v)), to—

(i) applicants for and recipients of financial assistance or payments under Federal benefit programs, and

(ii) applicants for and holders of positions as Federal personnel,


that any information provided by such applicants, recipients, holders, and individuals may be subject to verification through matching programs;

(E) procedures for verifying information produced in such matching program as required by subsection (p);

(F) procedures for the retention and timely destruction of identifiable records created by a recipient agency or non-Federal agency in such matching program;

(G) procedures for ensuring the administrative, technical, and physical security of the records matched and the results of such programs;

(H) prohibitions on duplication and redisclosure of records provided by the source agency within or outside the recipient agency or the non-Federal agency, except where required by law or essential to the conduct of the matching program;

(I) procedures governing the use by a recipient agency or non-Federal agency of records provided in a matching program by a source agency, including procedures governing return of the records to the source agency or destruction of records used in such program;

(J) information on assessments that have been made on the accuracy of the records that will be used in such matching program; and

(K) that the Comptroller General may have access to all records of a recipient agency or a non-Federal agency that the Comptroller General deems necessary in order to monitor or verify compliance with the agreement.


(2)(A) A copy of each agreement entered into pursuant to paragraph (1) shall—

(i) be transmitted to the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives; and

(ii) be available upon request to the public.


(B) No such agreement shall be effective until 30 days after the date on which such a copy is transmitted pursuant to subparagraph (A)(i).

(C) Such an agreement shall remain in effect only for such period, not to exceed 18 months, as the Data Integrity Board of the agency determines is appropriate in light of the purposes, and length of time necessary for the conduct, of the matching program.

(D) Within 3 months prior to the expiration of such an agreement pursuant to subparagraph (C), the Data Integrity Board of the agency may, without additional review, renew the matching agreement for a current, ongoing matching program for not more than one additional year if—

(i) such program will be conducted without any change; and

(ii) each party to the agreement certifies to the Board in writing that the program has been conducted in compliance with the agreement.


(p) Verification and Opportunity to Contest Findings.—(1) In order to protect any individual whose records are used in a matching program, no recipient agency, non-Federal agency, or source agency may suspend, terminate, reduce, or make a final denial of any financial assistance or payment under a Federal benefit program to such individual, or take other adverse action against such individual, as a result of information produced by such matching program, until—

(A)(i) the agency has independently verified the information; or

(ii) the Data Integrity Board of the agency, or in the case of a non-Federal agency the Data Integrity Board of the source agency, determines in accordance with guidance issued by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget that—

(I) the information is limited to identification and amount of benefits paid by the source agency under a Federal benefit program; and

(II) there is a high degree of confidence that the information provided to the recipient agency is accurate;


(B) the individual receives a notice from the agency containing a statement of its findings and informing the individual of the opportunity to contest such findings; and

(C)(i) the expiration of any time period established for the program by statute or regulation for the individual to respond to that notice; or

(ii) in the case of a program for which no such period is established, the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which notice under subparagraph (B) is mailed or otherwise provided to the individual.


(2) Independent verification referred to in paragraph (1) requires investigation and confirmation of specific information relating to an individual that is used as a basis for an adverse action against the individual, including where applicable investigation and confirmation of—

(A) the amount of any asset or income involved;

(B) whether such individual actually has or had access to such asset or income for such individual's own use; and

(C) the period or periods when the individual actually had such asset or income.


(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), an agency may take any appropriate action otherwise prohibited by such paragraph if the agency determines that the public health or public safety may be adversely affected or significantly threatened during any notice period required by such paragraph.

(q) Sanctions.—(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no source agency may disclose any record which is contained in a system of records to a recipient agency or non-Federal agency for a matching program if such source agency has reason to believe that the requirements of subsection (p), or any matching agreement entered into pursuant to subsection (o), or both, are not being met by such recipient agency.

(2) No source agency may renew a matching agreement unless—

(A) the recipient agency or non-Federal agency has certified that it has complied with the provisions of that agreement; and

(B) the source agency has no reason to believe that the certification is inaccurate.


(r) Report on New Systems and Matching Programs.—Each agency that proposes to establish or make a significant change in a system of records or a matching program shall provide adequate advance notice of any such proposal (in duplicate) 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 in order to permit an evaluation of the probable or potential effect of such proposal on the privacy or other rights of individuals.

(s) Biennial Report.—The President shall biennially submit to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate a report—

(1) describing the actions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to section 6 of the Privacy Act of 1974 during the preceding 2 years;

(2) describing the exercise of individual rights of access and amendment under this section during such years;

(3) identifying changes in or additions to systems of records;

(4) containing such other information concerning administration of this section as may be necessary or useful to the Congress in reviewing the effectiveness of this section in carrying out the purposes of the Privacy Act of 1974.


(t)(1) Effect of Other Laws.—No agency shall rely on any exemption contained in section 552 of this title to withhold from an individual any record which is otherwise accessible to such individual under the provisions of this section.

(2) No agency shall rely on any exemption in this section to withhold from an individual any record which is otherwise accessible to such individual under the provisions of section 552 of this title.

(u) Data Integrity Boards.—(1) Every agency conducting or participating in a matching program shall establish a Data Integrity Board to oversee and coordinate among the various components of such agency the agency's implementation of this section.

(2) Each Data Integrity Board shall consist of senior officials designated by the head of the agency, and shall include any senior official designated by the head of the agency as responsible for implementation of this section, and the inspector general of the agency, if any. The inspector general shall not serve as chairman of the Data Integrity Board.

(3) Each Data Integrity Board—

(A) shall review, approve, and maintain all written agreements for receipt or disclosure of agency records for matching programs to ensure compliance with subsection (o), and all relevant statutes, regulations, and guidelines;

(B) shall review all matching programs in which the agency has participated during the year, either as a source agency or recipient agency, determine compliance with applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and agency agreements, and assess the costs and benefits of such programs;

(C) shall review all recurring matching programs in which the agency has participated during the year, either as a source agency or recipient agency, for continued justification for such disclosures;

(D) shall compile an annual report, which shall be submitted to the head of the agency and the Office of Management and Budget and made available to the public on request, describing the matching activities of the agency, including—

(i) matching programs in which the agency has participated as a source agency or recipient agency;

(ii) matching agreements proposed under subsection (o) that were disapproved by the Board;

(iii) any changes in membership or structure of the Board in the preceding year;

(iv) the reasons for any waiver of the requirement in paragraph (4) of this section for completion and submission of a cost-benefit analysis prior to the approval of a matching program;

(v) any violations of matching agreements that have been alleged or identified and any corrective action taken; and

(vi) any other information required by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to be included in such report;


(E) shall serve as a clearinghouse for receiving and providing information on the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of records used in matching programs;

(F) shall provide interpretation and guidance to agency components and personnel on the requirements of this section for matching programs;

(G) shall review agency recordkeeping and disposal policies and practices for matching programs to assure compliance with this section; and

(H) may review and report on any agency matching activities that are not matching programs.


(4)(A) Except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C), a Data Integrity Board shall not approve any written agreement for a matching program unless the agency has completed and submitted to such Board a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed program and such analysis demonstrates that the program is likely to be cost effective.2

(B) The Board may waive the requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph if it determines in writing, in accordance with guidelines prescribed by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, that a cost-benefit analysis is not required.

(C) A cost-benefit analysis shall not be required under subparagraph (A) prior to the initial approval of a written agreement for a matching program that is specifically required by statute. Any subsequent written agreement for such a program shall not be approved by the Data Integrity Board unless the agency has submitted a cost-benefit analysis of the program as conducted under the preceding approval of such agreement.

(5)(A) If a matching agreement is disapproved by a Data Integrity Board, any party to such agreement may appeal the disapproval to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Timely notice of the filing of such an appeal shall be provided by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives.

(B) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget may approve a matching agreement notwithstanding the disapproval of a Data Integrity Board if the Director determines that—

(i) the matching program will be consistent with all applicable legal, regulatory, and policy requirements;

(ii) there is adequate evidence that the matching agreement will be cost-effective; and

(iii) the matching program is in the public interest.


(C) The decision of the Director to approve a matching agreement shall not take effect until 30 days after it is reported to committees described in subparagraph (A).

(D) If the Data Integrity Board and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget disapprove a matching program proposed by the inspector general of an agency, the inspector general may report the disapproval to the head of the agency and to the Congress.

(6) In the reports required by paragraph (3)(D), agency matching activities that are not matching programs may be reported on an aggregate basis, if and to the extent necessary to protect ongoing law enforcement or counterintelligence investigations.

(v) Office of Management and Budget Responsibilities.—The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall—

(1) develop and, after notice and opportunity for public comment, prescribe guidelines and regulations for the use of agencies in implementing the provisions of this section; and

(2) provide continuing assistance to and oversight of the implementation of this section by agencies.

(w) Applicability to Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.—Except as provided in the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, this section shall apply with respect to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

(Added Pub. L. 93–579, §3, Dec. 31, 1974, 88 Stat. 1897; amended Pub. L. 94–183, §2(2), Dec. 31, 1975, 89 Stat. 1057; Pub. L. 97–365, §2, Oct. 25, 1982, 96 Stat. 1749; Pub. L. 97–375, title II, §201(a), (b), Dec. 21, 1982, 96 Stat. 1821; Pub. L. 97–452, §2(a)(1), Jan. 12, 1983, 96 Stat. 2478; Pub. L. 98–477, §2(c), Oct. 15, 1984, 98 Stat. 2211; Pub. L. 98–497, title I, §107(g), Oct. 19, 1984, 98 Stat. 2292; Pub. L. 100–503, §§2–6(a), 7, 8, Oct. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 2507–2514; Pub. L. 101–508, title VII, §7201(b)(1), Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388–334; Pub. L. 103–66, title XIII, §13581(c), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 611; Pub. L. 104–193, title I, §110(w), Aug. 22, 1996, 110 Stat. 2175; Pub. L. 104–226, §1(b)(3), Oct. 2, 1996, 110 Stat. 3033; Pub. L. 104–316, title I, §115(g)(2)(B), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3835; Pub. L. 105–34, title X, §1026(b)(2), Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 925; Pub. L. 105–362, title XIII, §1301(d), Nov. 10, 1998, 112 Stat. 3293; Pub. L. 106–170, title IV, §402(a)(2), Dec. 17, 1999, 113 Stat. 1908; Pub. L. 108–271, §8(b), July 7, 2004, 118 Stat. 814; Pub. L. 111–148, title VI, §6402(b)(2), Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 756; Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1082, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2080.)


References in Text

Section 552(e) of this title, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), was redesignated section 552(f) of this title by section 1802(b) of Pub. L. 99–570.

Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, referred to in subsec. (a)(8)(B)(iv), (vii), is classified to section 6103 of Title 26, Internal Revenue Code.

Sections 404, 464, and 1137 of the Social Security Act, referred to in subsec. (a)(8)(B)(iv), are classified to sections 604, 664, and 1320b–7, respectively, of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.

For effective date of this section, referred to in subsecs. (k)(2), (5), (7), (l)(2), (3), and (m), see Effective Date note below.

Section 6 of the Privacy Act of 1974, referred to in subsec. (s)(1), is section 6 of Pub. L. 93–579, which was set out below and was repealed by section 6(c) of Pub. L. 100–503.

For classification of the Privacy Act of 1974, referred to in subsec. (s)(4), see Short Title note below.

The Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, referred to in subsec. (w), is title X of Pub. L. 111–203, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1955, which enacted subchapter V (§5481 et seq.) of chapter 53 of Title 12, Banks and Banking, and enacted and amended numerous other sections and notes in the Code. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 5301 of Title 12 and Tables.


Codification

Section 552a of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2244 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Amendments

2010—Subsec. (a)(8)(B)(ix). Pub. L. 111–148 added cl. (ix).

Subsec. (w). Pub. L. 111–203 added subsec. (w).

2004—Subsec. (b)(10). Pub. L. 108–271 substituted “Government Accountability Office” for “General Accounting Office”.

1999—Subsec. (a)(8)(B)(viii). Pub. L. 106–170 added cl. (viii).

1998—Subsec. (u)(6), (7). Pub. L. 105–362 redesignated par. (7) as (6), substituted “paragraph (3)(D)” for “paragraphs (3)(D) and (6)”, and struck out former par. (6) which read as follows: “The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall, annually during the first 3 years after the date of enactment of this subsection and biennially thereafter, consolidate in a report to the Congress the information contained in the reports from the various Data Integrity Boards under paragraph (3)(D). Such report shall include detailed information about costs and benefits of matching programs that are conducted during the period covered by such consolidated report, and shall identify each waiver granted by a Data Integrity Board of the requirement for completion and submission of a cost-benefit analysis and the reasons for granting the waiver.”

1997—Subsec. (a)(8)(B)(vii). Pub. L. 105–34 added cl. (vii).

1996—Subsec. (a)(8)(B)(iv)(III). Pub. L. 104–193 substituted “section 404(e), 464,” for “section 464”.

Subsec. (a)(8)(B)(v) to (vii). Pub. L. 104–226 inserted “or” at end of cl. (v), struck out “or” at end of cl. (vi), and struck out cl. (vii) which read as follows: “matches performed pursuant to section 6103(l)(12) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and section 1144 of the Social Security Act;”.

Subsecs. (b)(12), (m)(2). Pub. L. 104–316 substituted “3711(e)” for “3711(f)”.

1993—Subsec. (a)(8)(B)(vii). Pub. L. 103–66 added cl. (vii).

1990—Subsec. (p). Pub. L. 101–508 amended subsec. (p) generally, restating former pars. (1) and (3) as par. (1), adding provisions relating to Data Integrity Boards, and restating former pars. (2) and (4) as (2) and (3), respectively.

1988—Subsec. (a)(8) to (13). Pub. L. 100–503, §5, added pars. (8) to (13).

Subsec. (e)(12). Pub. L. 100–503, §3(a), added par. (12).

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 100–503, §7, substituted “biennially” for “annually” in last sentence.

Subsecs. (o) to (q). Pub. L. 100–503, §2(2), added subsecs. (o) to (q). Former subsecs. (o) to (q) redesignated (r) to (t), respectively.

Subsec. (r). Pub. L. 100–503, §3(b), inserted “and matching programs” in heading and amended text generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “Each agency shall provide adequate advance notice to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget of any proposal to establish or alter any system of records in order to permit an evaluation of the probable or potential effect of such proposal on the privacy and other personal or property rights of individuals or the disclosure of information relating to such individuals, and its effect on the preservation of the constitutional principles of federalism and separation of powers.”

Pub. L. 100–503, §2(1), redesignated former subsec. (o) as (r).

Subsec. (s). Pub. L. 100–503, §8, substituted “Biennial” for “Annual” in heading, “biennially submit” for “annually submit” in introductory provisions, “preceding 2 years” for “preceding year” in par. (1), and “such years” for “such year” in par. (2).

Pub. L. 100–503, §2(1), redesignated former subsec. (p) as (s).

Subsec. (t). Pub. L. 100–503, §2(1), redesignated former subsec. (q) as (t).

Subsec. (u). Pub. L. 100–503, §4, added subsec. (u).

Subsec. (v). Pub. L. 100–503, §6(a), added subsec. (v).

1984—Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 98–497, §107(g)(1), substituted “National Archives and Records Administration” for “National Archives of the United States”, and “Archivist of the United States or the designee of the Archivist” for “Administrator of General Services or his designee”.

Subsec. (l)(1). Pub. L. 98–497, §107(g)(2), substituted “Archivist of the United States” for “Administrator of General Services” in two places.

Subsec. (q). Pub. L. 98–477 designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

1983—Subsec. (b)(12). Pub. L. 97–452 substituted “section 3711(f) of title 31” for “section 3(d) of the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966 (31 U.S.C. 952(d))”.

Subsec. (m)(2). Pub. L. 97–452 substituted “section 3711(f) of title 31” for “section 3(d) of the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966 (31 U.S.C. 952(d))”.

1982—Subsec. (b)(12). Pub. L. 97–365, §2(a), added par. (12).

Subsec. (e)(4). Pub. L. 97–375, §201(a), substituted “upon establishment or revision” for “at least annually” after “Federal Register”.

Subsec. (m). Pub. L. 97–365, §2(b), designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

Subsec. (p). Pub. L. 97–375, §201(b), substituted provisions requiring annual submission of a report by the President to the Speaker of the House and President pro tempore of the Senate relating to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, individual rights of access, changes or additions to systems of records, and other necessary or useful information, for provisions which had directed the President to submit to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, by June 30 of each calendar year, a consolidated report, separately listing for each Federal agency the number of records contained in any system of records which were exempted from the application of this section under the provisions of subsections (j) and (k) of this section during the preceding calendar year, and the reasons for the exemptions, and such other information as indicate efforts to administer fully this section.

1975—Subsec. (g)(5). Pub. L. 94–183 substituted “to September 27, 1975” for “to the effective date of this section”.


Change of Name

Committee on Governmental Affairs of Senate changed to Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of Senate, effective Jan. 4, 2005, by Senate Resolution No. 445, One Hundred Eighth Congress, Oct. 9, 2004.

Committee on Government Operations of House of Representatives treated as referring to Committee on Government Reform and Oversight of House of Representatives by section 1(a) of Pub. L. 104–14, set out as a note under section 21 of Title 2, The Congress. Committee on Government Reform and Oversight of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Government Reform of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 5, One Hundred Sixth Congress, Jan. 6, 1999. Committee on Government Reform of House of Representatives changed to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of House of Representatives by House Resolution No. 6, One Hundred Tenth Congress, Jan. 5, 2007.


Effective Date of 2010 Amendment

Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1082, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2080, provided that the amendment made by section 1082 is effective on July 21, 2010.

Pub. L. 111–203, title X, §1100H, July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 2113, provided that: “Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle (subtitle H (§§1081–1100H) of title X of Pub. L. 111–203, see Tables for classification) and the amendments made by this subtitle, this subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle, other than sections 1081 (amending section 8G of Pub. L. 95–452, set out in the Appendix to this title, and enacting provisions set out as a note under section 8G of Pub. L. 95–452) and 1082 (amending this section and enacting provisions set out as a note under this section), shall become effective on the designated transfer date.”

(The term “designated transfer date” is defined in section 5481(9) of Title 12, Banks and Banking, as the date established under section 5582 of Title 12.)


Effective Date of 1999 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 106–170 applicable to individuals whose period of confinement in an institution commences on or after the first day of the fourth month beginning after December 1999, see section 402(a)(4) of Pub. L. 106–170, set out as a note under section 402 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.


Effective Date of 1997 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 105–34 applicable to levies issued after Aug. 5, 1997, see section 1026(c) of Pub. L. 105–34, set out as a note under section 6103 of Title 26, Internal Revenue Code.


Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 104–193 effective July 1, 1997, with transition rules relating to State options to accelerate such date, rules relating to claims, actions, and proceedings commenced before such date, rules relating to closing out of accounts for terminated or substantially modified programs and continuance in office of Assistant Secretary for Family Support, and provisions relating to termination of entitlement under AFDC program, see section 116 of Pub. L. 104–193, as amended, set out as an Effective Date note under section 601 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.


Effective Date of 1993 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 103–66 effective Jan. 1, 1994, see section 13581(d) of Pub. L. 103–66, set out as a note under section 1395y of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.


Effective Date of 1988 Amendment

Section 10 of Pub. L. 100–503, as amended by Pub. L. 101–56, §2, July 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 149, provided that:

“(a) In General.—Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), the amendments made by this Act (amending this section and repealing provisions set out as a note below) shall take effect 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act (Oct. 18, 1988).

“(b) Exceptions.—The amendment made by sections 3(b), 6, 7, and 8 of this Act (amending this section and repealing provisions set out as a note below) shall take effect upon enactment.

“(c) Effective Date Delayed for Existing Programs.—In the case of any matching program (as defined in section 552a(a)(8) of title 5, United States Code, as added by section 5 of this Act) in operation before June 1, 1989, the amendments made by this Act (other than the amendments described in subsection (b)) shall take effect January 1, 1990, if—

“(1) such matching program is identified by an agency as being in operation before June 1, 1989; and

“(2) such identification is—

“(A) submitted by the agency to the Committee on Governmental Affairs of the Senate, the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Representatives, and the Office of Management and Budget before August 1, 1989, in a report which contains a schedule showing the dates on which the agency expects to have such matching program in compliance with the amendments made by this Act, and

“(B) published by the Office of Management and Budget in the Federal Register, before September 15, 1989.”


Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–497 effective Apr. 1, 1985, see section 301 of Pub. L. 98–497, set out as a note under section 2102 of Title 44, Public Printing and Documents.


Effective Date

Section 8 of Pub. L. 93–579 provided that: “The provisions of this Act (enacting this section and provisions set out as notes under this section) shall be effective on and after the date of enactment (Dec. 31, 1974), except that the amendments made by sections 3 and 4 (enacting this section and amending analysis preceding section 500 of this title) shall become effective 270 days following the day on which this Act is enacted.”


Short Title of 1990 Amendment

Section 7201(a) of Pub. L. 101–508 provided that: “This section (amending this section and enacting provisions set out as notes below) may be cited as the ‘Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Amendments of 1990’.”


Short Title of 1989 Amendment

Pub. L. 101–56, §1, July 19, 1989, 103 Stat. 149, provided that: “This Act (amending section 10 of Pub. L. 100–503, set out as a note above) may be cited as the ‘Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act Amendments of 1989’.”


Short Title of 1988 Amendment

Section 1 of Pub. L. 100–503 provided that: “This Act (amending this section, enacting provisions set out as notes above and below, and repealing provisions set out as a note below) may be cited as the ‘Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988’.”


Short Title of 1974 Amendment

Section 1 of Pub. L. 93–579 provided: “That this Act (enacting this section and provisions set out as notes under this section) may be cited as the ‘Privacy Act of 1974’.”


Short Title

This section is popularly known as the “Privacy Act”.


Termination of Reporting Requirements

For termination, effective May 15, 2000, of reporting provisions in subsec. (s) of this section, see section 3003 of Pub. L. 104–66, as amended, set out as a note under section 1113 of Title 31, Money and Finance, and page 31 of House Document No. 103–7.


Delegation of Functions

Functions of Director of Office of Management and Budget under this section delegated to Administrator for Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs by section 3 of Pub. L. 96–511, Dec. 11, 1980, 94 Stat. 2825, set out as a note under section 3503 of Title 44, Public Printing and Documents.


Publication of Guidance Under Subsection (p)(1)(A)(ii)

Section 7201(b)(2) of Pub. L. 101–508 provided that: “Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act (Nov. 5, 1990), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall publish guidance under subsection (p)(1)(A)(ii) of section 552a of title 5, United States Code, as amended by this Act.”


Limitation on Application of Verification Requirement

Section 7201(c) of Pub. L. 101–508 provided that: “Section 552a(p)(1)(A)(ii)(II) of title 5, United States Code, as amended by section 2 (probably means section 7201(b)(1) of Pub. L. 101–508), shall not apply to a program referred to in paragraph (1), (2), or (4) of section 1137(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b–7), until the earlier of—

“(1) the date on which the Data Integrity Board of the Federal agency which administers that program determines that there is not a high degree of confidence that information provided by that agency under Federal matching programs is accurate; or

“(2) 30 days after the date of publication of guidance under section 2(b) (probably means section 7201(b)(2) of Pub. L. 101–508, set out as a note above).”


Effective Date Delayed for Certain Education Benefits Computer Matching Programs

Pub. L. 101–366, title II, §206(d), Aug. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 442, provided that:

“(1) In the case of computer matching programs between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense in the administration of education benefits programs under chapters 30 and 32 of title 38 and chapter 106 of title 10, United States Code, the amendments made to section 552a of title 5, United States Code, by the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100–503) (other than the amendments made by section 10(b) of that Act) (see Effective Date of 1988 Amendment note above) shall take effect on October 1, 1990.

“(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘matching program’ has the same meaning provided in section 552a(a)(8) of title 5, United States Code.”


Implementation Guidance for 1988 Amendments

Section 6(b) of Pub. L. 100–503 provided that: “The Director shall, pursuant to section 552a(v) of title 5, United States Code, develop guidelines and regulations for the use of agencies in implementing the amendments made by this Act (amending this section and repealing provisions set out as a note below) not later than 8 months after the date of enactment of this Act (Oct. 18, 1988).”


Construction of 1988 Amendments

Section 9 of Pub. L. 100–503 provided that: “Nothing in the amendments made by this Act (amending this section and repealing provisions set out as a note below) shall be construed to authorize—

“(1) the establishment or maintenance by any agency of a national data bank that combines, merges, or links information on individuals maintained in systems of records by other Federal agencies;

“(2) the direct linking of computerized systems of records maintained by Federal agencies;

“(3) the computer matching of records not otherwise authorized by law; or

“(4) the disclosure of records for computer matching except to a Federal, State, or local agency.”


Congressional Findings and Statement of Purpose

Section 2 of Pub. L. 93–579 provided that:

“(a) The Congress finds that—

“(1) the privacy of an individual is directly affected by the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal information by Federal agencies;

“(2) the increasing use of computers and sophisticated information technology, while essential to the efficient operations of the Government, has greatly magnified the harm to individual privacy that can occur from any collection, maintenance, use, or dissemination of personal information;

“(3) the opportunities for an individual to secure employment, insurance, and credit, and his right to due process, and other legal protections are endangered by the misuse of certain information systems;

“(4) the right to privacy is a personal and fundamental right protected by the Constitution of the United States; and

“(5) in order to protect the privacy of individuals identified in information systems maintained by Federal agencies, it is necessary and proper for the Congress to regulate the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information by such agencies.

“(b) The purpose of this Act (enacting this section and provisions set out as notes under this section) is to provide certain safeguards for an individual against an invasion of personal privacy by requiring Federal agencies, except as otherwise provided by law, to—

“(1) permit an individual to determine what records pertaining to him are collected, maintained, used, or disseminated by such agencies;

“(2) permit an individual to prevent records pertaining to him obtained by such agencies for a particular purpose from being used or made available for another purpose without his consent;

“(3) permit an individual to gain access to information pertaining to him in Federal agency records, to have a copy made of all or any portion thereof, and to correct or amend such records;

“(4) collect, maintain, use, or disseminate any record of identifiable personal information in a manner that assures that such action is for a necessary and lawful purpose, that the information is current and accurate for its intended use, and that adequate safeguards are provided to prevent misuse of such information;

“(5) permit exemptions from the requirements with respect to records provided in this Act only in those cases where there is an important public policy need for such exemption as has been determined by specific statutory authority; and

“(6) be subject to civil suit for any damages which occur as a result of willful or intentional action which violates any individual's rights under this Act.”


Privacy Protection Study Commission

Section 5 of Pub. L. 93–579, as amended by Pub. L. 95–38, June 1, 1977, 91 Stat. 179, which established the Privacy Protection Study Commission and provided that the Commission study data banks, automated data processing programs and information systems of governmental, regional and private organizations to determine standards and procedures in force for protection of personal information, that the Commission report to the President and Congress the extent to which requirements and principles of section 552a of title 5 should be applied to the information practices of those organizations, and that it make other legislative recommendations to protect the privacy of individuals while meeting the legitimate informational needs of government and society, ceased to exist on September 30, 1977, pursuant to section 5(g) of Pub. L. 93–579.


Guidelines and Regulations for Maintenance of Privacy and Protection of Records of Individuals

Section 6 of Pub. L. 93–579, which provided that the Office of Management and Budget shall develop guidelines and regulations for use of agencies in implementing provisions of this section and provide continuing assistance to and oversight of the implementation of the provisions of such section by agencies, was repealed by Pub. L. 100–503, §6(c), Oct. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 2513.


Disclosure of Social Security Number

Section 7 of Pub. L. 93–579 provided that:

“(a)(1) It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local government agency to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual's refusal to disclose his social security account number.

“(2) the (The) provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply with respect to—

“(A) any disclosure which is required by Federal statute, or

“(B) the disclosure of a social security number to any Federal, State, or local agency maintaining a system of records in existence and operating before January 1, 1975, if such disclosure was required under statute or regulation adopted prior to such date to verify the identity of an individual.

“(b) Any Federal, State, or local government agency which requests an individual to disclose his social security account number shall inform that individual whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it.”


Authorization of Appropriations to Privacy Protection Study Commission

Section 9 of Pub. L. 93–579, as amended by Pub. L. 94–394, Sept. 3, 1976, 90 Stat. 1198, authorized appropriations for the period beginning July 1, 1975, and ending on September 30, 1977.


Ex. Ord. No. 9397. Numbering System for Federal Accounts Relating to Individual Persons

Ex. Ord. No. 9397, Nov. 22, 1943, 8 F.R. 16095, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 13478, §2, Nov. 18, 2008, 73 F.R. 70239, provided:

WHEREAS certain Federal agencies from time to time require in the administration of their activities a system of numerical identification of accounts of individual persons; and

WHEREAS some seventy million persons have heretofore been assigned account numbers pursuant to the Social Security Act; and

WHEREAS a large percentage of Federal employees have already been assigned account numbers pursuant to the Social Security Act; and

WHEREAS it is desirable in the interest of economy and orderly administration that the Federal Government move towards the use of a single, unduplicated numerical identification system of accounts and avoid the unnecessary establishment of additional systems:

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1. Hereafter any Federal department, establishment, or agency may, whenever the head thereof finds it advisable to establish a new system of permanent account numbers pertaining to individual persons, utilize the Social Security Act account numbers assigned pursuant to title 20, section 422.103 of the Code of Federal Regulations and pursuant to paragraph 2 of this order.

2. The Social Security Administration shall provide for the assignment of an account number to each person who is required by any Federal agency to have such a number but who has not previously been assigned such number by the Administration. The Administration may accomplish this purpose by (a) assigning such numbers to individual persons, (b) assigning blocks of numbers to Federal agencies for reassignment to individual persons, or (c) making such other arrangements for the assignment of numbers as it may deem appropriate.

3. The Social Security Administration shall furnish, upon request of any Federal agency utilizing the numerical identification system of accounts provided for in this order, the account number pertaining to any person with whom such agency has an account or the name and other identifying data pertaining to any account number of any such person.

4. The Social Security Administration and each Federal agency shall maintain the confidential character of information relating to individual persons obtained pursuant to the provisions of this order.

5. There shall be transferred to the Social Security Administration, from time to time, such amounts as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall determine to be required for reimbursement by any Federal agency for the services rendered by the Administration pursuant to the provisions of this order.

6. This order shall be implemented in accordance with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

7. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

8. This order shall be published in the Federal Register.


Classified National Security Information

For provisions relating to a response to a request for information under this section when the fact of its existence or nonexistence is itself classified or when it was originally classified by another agency, see Ex. Ord. No. 13526, §3.6, Dec. 29, 2009, 75 F.R. 718, set out as a note under section 435 of Title 50, War and National Defense.

1 See References in Text note below.

2 So in original. Probably should be “cost-effective.”


§552b. Open meetings

(a) For purposes of this section—

(1) the term “agency” means any agency, as defined in section 552(e) 1 of this title, headed by a collegial body composed of two or more individual members, a majority of whom are appointed to such position by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and any subdivision thereof authorized to act on behalf of the agency;

(2) the term “meeting” means the deliberations of at least the number of individual agency members required to take action on behalf of the agency where such deliberations determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of official agency business, but does not include deliberations required or permitted by subsection (d) or (e); and

(3) the term “member” means an individual who belongs to a collegial body heading an agency.


(b) Members shall not jointly conduct or dispose of agency business other than in accordance with this section. Except as provided in subsection (c), every portion of every meeting of an agency shall be open to public observation.

(c) Except in a case where the agency finds that the public interest requires otherwise, the second sentence of subsection (b) shall not apply to any portion of an agency meeting, and the requirements of subsections (d) and (e) shall not apply to any information pertaining to such meeting otherwise required by this section to be disclosed to the public, where the agency properly determines that such portion or portions of its meeting or the disclosure of such information is likely to—

(1) disclose matters that are (A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interests of national defense or foreign policy and (B) in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;

(2) relate solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;

(3) disclose matters specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than section 552 of this title), provided that such statute (A) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (B) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld;

(4) disclose trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

(5) involve accusing any person of a crime, or formally censuring any person;

(6) disclose information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(7) disclose investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, or information which if written would be contained in such records, but only to the extent that the production of such records or information would (A) interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) 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 national security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished only by the confidential source, (E) disclose investigative techniques and procedures, or (F) endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel;

(8) disclose information contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions;

(9) disclose information the premature disclosure of which would—

(A) in the case of an agency which regulates currencies, securities, commodities, or financial institutions, be likely to (i) lead to significant financial speculation in currencies, securities, or commodities, or (ii) significantly endanger the stability of any financial institution; or

(B) in the case of any agency, be likely to significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed agency action,


except that subparagraph (B) shall not apply in any instance where the agency has already disclosed to the public the content or nature of its proposed action, or where the agency is required by law to make such disclosure on its own initiative prior to taking final agency action on such proposal; or

(10) specifically concern the agency's issuance of a subpena, or the agency's participation in a civil action or proceeding, an action in a foreign court or international tribunal, or an arbitration, or the initiation, conduct, or disposition by the agency of a particular case of formal agency adjudication pursuant to the procedures in section 554 of this title or otherwise involving a determination on the record after opportunity for a hearing.


(d)(1) Action under subsection (c) shall be taken only when a majority of the entire membership of the agency (as defined in subsection (a)(1)) votes to take such action. A separate vote of the agency members shall be taken with respect to each agency meeting a portion or portions of which are proposed to be closed to the public pursuant to subsection (c), or with respect to any information which is proposed to be withheld under subsection (c). A single vote may be taken with respect to a series of meetings, a portion or portions of which are proposed to be closed to the public, or with respect to any information concerning such series of meetings, so long as each meeting in such series involves the same particular matters and is scheduled to be held no more than thirty days after the initial meeting in such series. The vote of each agency member participating in such vote shall be recorded and no proxies shall be allowed.

(2) Whenever any person whose interests may be directly affected by a portion of a meeting requests that the agency close such portion to the public for any of the reasons referred to in paragraph (5), (6), or (7) of subsection (c), the agency, upon request of any one of its members, shall vote by recorded vote whether to close such meeting.

(3) Within one day of any vote taken pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2), the agency shall make publicly available a written copy of such vote reflecting the vote of each member on the question. If a portion of a meeting is to be closed to the public, the agency shall, within one day of the vote taken pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection, make publicly available a full written explanation of its action closing the portion together with a list of all persons expected to attend the meeting and their affiliation.

(4) Any agency, a majority of whose meetings may properly be closed to the public pursuant to paragraph (4), (8), (9)(A), or (10) of subsection (c), or any combination thereof, may provide by regulation for the closing of such meetings or portions thereof in the event that a majority of the members of the agency votes by recorded vote at the beginning of such meeting, or portion thereof, to close the exempt portion or portions of the meeting, and a copy of such vote, reflecting the vote of each member on the question, is made available to the public. The provisions of paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this subsection and subsection (e) shall not apply to any portion of a meeting to which such regulations apply: Provided, That the agency shall, except to the extent that such information is exempt from disclosure under the provisions of subsection (c), provide the public with public announcement of the time, place, and subject matter of the meeting and of each portion thereof at the earliest practicable time.

(e)(1) In the case of each meeting, the agency shall make public announcement, at least one week before the meeting, of the time, place, and subject matter of the meeting, whether it is to be open or closed to the public, and the name and phone number of the official designated by the agency to respond to requests for information about the meeting. Such announcement shall be made unless a majority of the members of the agency determines by a recorded vote that agency business requires that such meeting be called at an earlier date, in which case the agency shall make public announcement of the time, place, and subject matter of such meeting, and whether open or closed to the public, at the earliest practicable time.

(2) The time or place of a meeting may be changed following the public announcement required by paragraph (1) only if the agency publicly announces such change at the earliest practicable time. The subject matter of a meeting, or the determination of the agency to open or close a meeting, or portion of a meeting, to the public, may be changed following the public announcement required by this subsection only if (A) a majority of the entire membership of the agency determines by a recorded vote that agency business so requires and that no earlier announcement of the change was possible, and (B) the agency publicly announces such change and the vote of each member upon such change at the earliest practicable time.

(3) Immediately following each public announcement required by this subsection, notice of the time, place, and subject matter of a meeting, whether the meeting is open or closed, any change in one of the preceding, and the name and phone number of the official designated by the agency to respond to requests for information about the meeting, shall also be submitted for publication in the Federal Register.

(f)(1) For every meeting closed pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (10) of subsection (c), the General Counsel or chief legal officer of the agency shall publicly certify that, in his or her opinion, the meeting may be closed to the public and shall state each relevant exemptive provision. A copy of such certification, together with a statement from the presiding officer of the meeting setting forth the time and place of the meeting, and the persons present, shall be retained by the agency. The agency shall maintain a complete transcript or electronic recording adequate to record fully the proceedings of each meeting, or portion of a meeting, closed to the public, except that in the case of a meeting, or portion of a meeting, closed to the public pursuant to paragraph (8), (9)(A), or (10) of subsection (c), the agency shall maintain either such a transcript or recording, or a set of minutes. Such minutes shall fully and clearly describe all matters discussed and shall provide a full and accurate summary of any actions taken, and the reasons therefor, including a description of each of the views expressed on any item and the record of any rollcall vote (reflecting the vote of each member on the question). All documents considered in connection with any action shall be identified in such minutes.

(2) The agency shall make promptly available to the public, in a place easily accessible to the public, the transcript, electronic recording, or minutes (as required by paragraph (1)) of the discussion of any item on the agenda, or of any item of the testimony of any witness received at the meeting, except for such item or items of such discussion or testimony as the agency determines to contain information which may be withheld under subsection (c). Copies of such transcript, or minutes, or a transcription of such recording disclosing the identity of each speaker, shall be furnished to any person at the actual cost of duplication or transcription. The agency shall maintain a complete verbatim copy of the transcript, a complete copy of the minutes, or a complete electronic recording of each meeting, or portion of a meeting, closed to the public, for a period of at least two years after such meeting, or until one year after the conclusion of any agency proceeding with respect to which the meeting or portion was held, whichever occurs later.

(g) Each agency subject to the requirements of this section shall, within 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, following consultation with the Office of the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States and published notice in the Federal Register of at least thirty days and opportunity for written comment by any person, promulgate regulations to implement the requirements of subsections (b) through (f) of this section. Any person may bring a proceeding in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to require an agency to promulgate such regulations if such agency has not promulgated such regulations within the time period specified herein. Subject to any limitations of time provided by law, any person may bring a proceeding in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to set aside agency regulations issued pursuant to this subsection that are not in accord with the requirements of subsections (b) through (f) of this section and to require the promulgation of regulations that are in accord with such subsections.

(h)(1) The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction to enforce the requirements of subsections (b) through (f) of this section by declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, or other relief as may be appropriate. Such actions may be brought by any person against an agency prior to, or within sixty days after, the meeting out of which the violation of this section arises, except that if public announcement of such meeting is not initially provided by the agency in accordance with the requirements of this section, such action may be instituted pursuant to this section at any time prior to sixty days after any public announcement of such meeting. Such actions may be brought in the district court of the United States for the district in which the agency meeting is held or in which the agency in question has its headquarters, or in the District Court for the District of Columbia. In such actions a defendant shall serve his answer within thirty days after the service of the complaint. The burden is on the defendant to sustain his action. In deciding such cases the court may examine in camera any portion of the transcript, electronic recording, or minutes of a meeting closed to the public, and may take such additional evidence as it deems necessary. The court, having due regard for orderly administration and the public interest, as well as the interests of the parties, may grant such equitable relief as it deems appropriate, including granting an injunction against future violations of this section or ordering the agency to make available to the public such portion of the transcript, recording, or minutes of a meeting as is not authorized to be withheld under subsection (c) of this section.

(2) Any Federal court otherwise authorized by law to review agency action may, at the application of any person properly participating in the proceeding pursuant to other applicable law, inquire into violations by the agency of the requirements of this section and afford such relief as it deems appropriate. Nothing in this section authorizes any Federal court having jurisdiction solely on the basis of paragraph (1) to set aside, enjoin, or invalidate any agency action (other than an action to close a meeting or to withhold information under this section) taken or discussed at any agency meeting out of which the violation of this section arose.

(i) The court may assess against any party reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred by any other party who substantially prevails in any action brought in accordance with the provisions of subsection (g) or (h) of this section, except that costs may be assessed against the plaintiff only where the court finds that the suit was initiated by the plaintiff primarily for frivolous or dilatory purposes. In the case of assessment of costs against an agency, the costs may be assessed by the court against the United States.

(j) Each agency subject to the requirements of this section shall annually report to the Congress regarding the following:

(1) The changes in the policies and procedures of the agency under this section that have occurred during the preceding 1-year period.

(2) A tabulation of the number of meetings held, the exemptions applied to close meetings, and the days of public notice provided to close meetings.

(3) A brief description of litigation or formal complaints concerning the implementation of this section by the agency.

(4) A brief explanation of any changes in law that have affected the responsibilities of the agency under this section.


(k) Nothing herein expands or limits the present rights of any person under section 552 of this title, except that the exemptions set forth in subsection (c) of this section shall govern in the case of any request made pursuant to section 552 to copy or inspect the transcripts, recordings, or minutes described in subsection (f) of this section. The requirements of chapter 33 of title 44, United States Code, shall not apply to the transcripts, recordings, and minutes described in subsection (f) of this section.

(l) This section does not constitute authority to withhold any information from Congress, and does not authorize the closing of any agency meeting or portion thereof required by any other provision of law to be open.

(m) Nothing in this section authorizes any agency to withhold from any individual any record, including transcripts, recordings, or minutes required by this section, which is otherwise accessible to such individual under section 552a of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 94–409, §3(a), Sept. 13, 1976, 90 Stat. 1241; amended Pub. L. 104–66, title III, §3002, Dec. 21, 1995, 109 Stat. 734.)


References in Text

Section 552(e) of this title, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), was redesignated section 552(f) of this title by section 1802(b) of Pub. L. 99–570.

180 days after the date of enactment of this section, referred to in subsec. (g), means 180 days after the date of enactment of Pub. L. 94–409, which was approved Sept. 13, 1976.


Amendments

1995—Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 104–66 amended subsec. (j) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (j) read as follows: “Each agency subject to the requirements of this section shall annually report to Congress regarding its compliance with such requirements, including a tabulation of the total number of agency meetings open to the public, the total number of meetings closed to the public, the reasons for closing such meetings, and a description of any litigation brought against the agency under this section, including any costs assessed against the agency in such litigation (whether or not paid by the agency).”


Effective Date

Section 6 of Pub. L. 94–409 provided that:

“(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the provisions of this Act (see Short Title note set out below) shall take effect 180 days after the date of its enactment (Sept. 13, 1976).

“(b) Subsection (g) of section 552b of title 5, United States Code, as added by section 3(a) of this Act, shall take effect upon enactment (Sept. 13, 1976).”


Short Title of 1976 Amendment

Section 1 of Pub. L. 94–409 provided: “That this Act (enacting this section, amending sections 551, 552, 556, and 557 of this title, section 10 of Pub. L. 92–463, set out in the Appendix to this title, and section 410 of Title 39, and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section) may be cited as the ‘Government in the Sunshine Act’.”


Termination of Reporting Requirements

For termination, effective May 15, 2000, of provisions of law requiring submittal to Congress of any annual, semiannual, or other regular periodic report listed in House Document No. 103–7 (in which the report required by subsec. (j) of this section is listed on page 151), see section 3003 of Pub. L. 104–66, as amended, set out as a note under section 1113 of Title 31, Money and Finance.


Termination of Administrative Conference of United States

For termination of Administrative Conference of United States, see provision of title IV of Pub. L. 104–52, set out as a note preceding section 591 of this title.


Declaration of Policy and Statement of Purpose

Section 2 of Pub. L. 94–409 provided that: “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that the public is entitled to the fullest practicable information regarding the decisionmaking processes of the Federal Government. It is the purpose of this Act (see Short Title note set out above) to provide the public with such information while protecting the rights of individuals and the ability of the Government to carry out its responsibilities.”

1 See References in Text note below.


§553. Rule making

(a) This section applies, according to the provisions thereof, except to the extent that there is involved—

(1) a military or foreign affairs function of the United States; or

(2) a matter relating to agency management or personnel or to public property, loans, grants, benefits, or contracts.


(b) General notice of proposed rule making shall be published in the Federal Register, unless persons subject thereto are named and either personally served or otherwise have actual notice thereof in accordance with law. The notice shall include—

(1) a statement of the time, place, and nature of public rule making proceedings;

(2) reference to the legal authority under which the rule is proposed; and

(3) either the terms or substance of the proposed rule or a description of the subjects and issues involved.


Except when notice or hearing is required by statute, this subsection does not apply—

(A) to interpretative rules, general statements of policy, or rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice; or

(B) when the agency for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of reasons therefor in the rules issued) that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.


(c) After notice required by this section, the agency shall give interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rule making through submission of written data, views, or arguments with or without opportunity for oral presentation. After consideration of the relevant matter presented, the agency shall incorporate in the rules adopted a concise general statement of their basis and purpose. When rules are required by statute to be made on the record after opportunity for an agency hearing, sections 556 and 557 of this title apply instead of this subsection.

(d) The required publication or service of a substantive rule shall be made not less than 30 days before its effective date, except—

(1) a substantive rule which grants or recognizes an exemption or relieves a restriction;

(2) interpretative rules and statements of policy; or

(3) as otherwise provided by the agency for good cause found and published with the rule.


(e) Each agency shall give an interested person the right to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 383.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1003. June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §4, 60 Stat. 238.

In subsection (a)(1), the words “or naval” are omitted as included in “military”.

In subsection (b), the word “when” is substituted for “in any situation in which”.

In subsection (c), the words “for oral presentation” are substituted for “to present the same orally in any manner”. The words “sections 556 and 557 of this title apply instead of this subsection” are substituted for “the requirements of sections 1006 and 1007 of this title shall apply in place of the provisions of this subsection”.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Codification

Section 553 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2245 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Executive Order No. 12044

Ex. Ord. No. 12044, Mar. 23, 1978, 43 F.R. 12661, as amended by Ex. Ord. No. 12221, June 27, 1980, 45 F.R. 44249, which related to the improvement of Federal regulations, was revoked by Ex. Ord. No. 12291, Feb. 17, 1981, 46 F.R. 13193, formerly set out as a note under section 601 of this title.


§554. Adjudications

(a) This section applies, according to the provisions thereof, in every case of adjudication required by statute to be determined on the record after opportunity for an agency hearing, except to the extent that there is involved—

(1) a matter subject to a subsequent trial of the law and the facts de novo in a court;

(2) the selection or tenure of an employee, except a 1 administrative law judge appointed under section 3105 of this title;

(3) proceedings in which decisions rest solely on inspections, tests, or elections;

(4) the conduct of military or foreign affairs functions;

(5) cases in which an agency is acting as an agent for a court; or

(6) the certification of worker representatives.


(b) Persons entitled to notice of an agency hearing shall be timely informed of—

(1) the time, place, and nature of the hearing;

(2) the legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held; and

(3) the matters of fact and law asserted.


When private persons are the moving parties, other parties to the proceeding shall give prompt notice of issues controverted in fact or law; and in other instances agencies may by rule require responsive pleading. In fixing the time and place for hearings, due regard shall be had for the convenience and necessity of the parties or their representatives.

(c) The agency shall give all interested parties opportunity for—

(1) the submission and consideration of facts, arguments, offers of settlement, or proposals of adjustment when time, the nature of the proceeding, and the public interest permit; and

(2) to the extent that the parties are unable so to determine a controversy by consent, hearing and decision on notice and in accordance with sections 556 and 557 of this title.


(d) The employee who presides at the reception of evidence pursuant to section 556 of this title shall make the recommended decision or initial decision required by section 557 of this title, unless he becomes unavailable to the agency. Except to the extent required for the disposition of ex parte matters as authorized by law, such an employee may not—

(1) consult a person or party on a fact in issue, unless on notice and opportunity for all parties to participate; or

(2) be responsible to or subject to the supervision or direction of an employee or agent engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecuting functions for an agency.


An employee or agent engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecuting functions for an agency in a case may not, in that or a factually related case, participate or advise in the decision, recommended decision, or agency review pursuant to section 557 of this title, except as witness or counsel in public proceedings. This subsection does not apply—

(A) in determining applications for initial licenses;

(B) to proceedings involving the validity or application of rates, facilities, or practices of public utilities or carriers; or

(C) to the agency or a member or members of the body comprising the agency.


(e) The agency, with like effect as in the case of other orders, and in its sound discretion, may issue a declaratory order to terminate a controversy or remove uncertainty.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 384; Pub. L. 95–251, §2(a)(1), Mar. 27, 1978, 92 Stat. 183.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1004. June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §5, 60 Stat. 239.

In subsection (a)(2), the word “employee” is substituted for “officer or employee of the United States” in view of the definition of “employee” in section 2105.

In subsection (a)(4), the word “naval” is omitted as included in “military”.

In subsection (a)(5), the word “or” is substituted for “and” since the exception is applicable if any one of the factors are involved.

In subsection (a)(6), the word “worker” is substituted for “employee”, since the latter is defined in section 2105 as meaning Federal employees.

In subsection (b), the word “When” is substituted for “In instances in which”.

In subsection (c)(2), the comma after the word “hearing” is omitted to correct an editorial error.

In subsection (d), the words “The employee” and “such an employee” are substituted in the first two sentences for “The same officers” and “such officers” in view of the definition of “employee” in section 2105. The word “officer” is omitted in the third and fourth sentences as included in “employee” as defined in section 2105. The prohibition in the third and fourth sentences is restated in positive form. In paragraph (C) of the last sentence, the words “in any manner” are omitted as surplusage.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Codification

Section 554 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2246 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Amendments

1978—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 95–251 substituted “administrative law judge” for “hearing examiner”.

1 So in original.


§555. Ancillary matters

(a) This section applies, according to the provisions thereof, except as otherwise provided by this subchapter.

(b) A person compelled to appear in person before an agency or representative thereof is entitled to be accompanied, represented, and advised by counsel or, if permitted by the agency, by other qualified representative. A party is entitled to appear in person or by or with counsel or other duly qualified representative in an agency proceeding. So far as the orderly conduct of public business permits, an interested person may appear before an agency or its responsible employees for the presentation, adjustment, or determination of an issue, request, or controversy in a proceeding, whether interlocutory, summary, or otherwise, or in connection with an agency function. With due regard for the convenience and necessity of the parties or their representatives and within a reasonable time, each agency shall proceed to conclude a matter presented to it. This subsection does not grant or deny a person who is not a lawyer the right to appear for or represent others before an agency or in an agency proceeding.

(c) Process, requirement of a report, inspection, or other investigative act or demand may not be issued, made, or enforced except as authorized by law. A person compelled to submit data or evidence is entitled to retain or, on payment of lawfully prescribed costs, procure a copy or transcript thereof, except that in a nonpublic investigatory proceeding the witness may for good cause be limited to inspection of the official transcript of his testimony.

(d) Agency subpenas authorized by law shall be issued to a party on request and, when required by rules of procedure, on a statement or showing of general relevance and reasonable scope of the evidence sought. On contest, the court shall sustain the subpena or similar process or demand to the extent that it is found to be in accordance with law. In a proceeding for enforcement, the court shall issue an order requiring the appearance of the witness or the production of the evidence or data within a reasonable time under penalty of punishment for contempt in case of contumacious failure to comply.

(e) Prompt notice shall be given of the denial in whole or in part of a written application, petition, or other request of an interested person made in connection with any agency proceeding. Except in affirming a prior denial or when the denial is self-explanatory, the notice shall be accompanied by a brief statement of the grounds for denial.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 385.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1005. June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §6, 60 Stat. 240.

In subsection (b), the words “is entitled” are substituted for “shall be accorded the right”. The word “officers” is omitted as included in “employees” in view of the definition of “employee” in section 2105. The words “With due regard for the convenience and necessity of the parties or their representatives and within a reasonable time” are substituted for “with reasonable dispatch” and “except that due regard shall be had for the convenience and necessity of the parties or their representatives”. The prohibition in the last sentence is restated in positive form and the words “This subsection does not” are substituted for “Nothing herein shall be construed either to”.

In subsection (c), the words “in any manner or for any purpose” are omitted as surplusage.

In subsection (e), the word “brief” is substituted for “simple”. The words “of the grounds for denial” are substituted for “of procedural or other grounds” for clarity.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Codification

Section 555 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2247 of Title 7, Agriculture.


§556. Hearings; presiding employees; powers and duties; burden of proof; evidence; record as basis of decision

(a) This section applies, according to the provisions thereof, to hearings required by section 553 or 554 of this title to be conducted in accordance with this section.

(b) There shall preside at the taking of evidence—

(1) the agency;

(2) one or more members of the body which comprises the agency; or

(3) one or more administrative law judges appointed under section 3105 of this title.


This subchapter does not supersede the conduct of specified classes of proceedings, in whole or in part, by or before boards or other employees specially provided for by or designated under statute. The functions of presiding employees and of employees participating in decisions in accordance with section 557 of this title shall be conducted in an impartial manner. A presiding or participating employee may at any time disqualify himself. On the filing in good faith of a timely and sufficient affidavit of personal bias or other disqualification of a presiding or participating employee, the agency shall determine the matter as a part of the record and decision in the case.

(c) Subject to published rules of the agency and within its powers, employees presiding at hearings may—

(1) administer oaths and affirmations;

(2) issue subpenas authorized by law;

(3) rule on offers of proof and receive relevant evidence;

(4) take depositions or have depositions taken when the ends of justice would be served;

(5) regulate the course of the hearing;

(6) hold conferences for the settlement or simplification of the issues by consent of the parties or by the use of alternative means of dispute resolution as provided in subchapter IV of this chapter;

(7) inform the parties as to the availability of one or more alternative means of dispute resolution, and encourage use of such methods;

(8) require the attendance at any conference held pursuant to paragraph (6) of at least one representative of each party who has authority to negotiate concerning resolution of issues in controversy;

(9) dispose of procedural requests or similar matters;

(10) make or recommend decisions in accordance with section 557 of this title; and

(11) take other action authorized by agency rule consistent with this subchapter.


(d) Except as otherwise provided by statute, the proponent of a rule or order has the burden of proof. Any oral or documentary evidence may be received, but the agency as a matter of policy shall provide for the exclusion of irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence. A sanction may not be imposed or rule or order issued except on consideration of the whole record or those parts thereof cited by a party and supported by and in accordance with the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence. The agency may, to the extent consistent with the interests of justice and the policy of the underlying statutes administered by the agency, consider a violation of section 557(d) of this title sufficient grounds for a decision adverse to a party who has knowingly committed such violation or knowingly caused such violation to occur. A party is entitled to present his case or defense by oral or documentary evidence, to submit rebuttal evidence, and to conduct such cross-examination as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts. In rule making or determining claims for money or benefits or applications for initial licenses an agency may, when a party will not be prejudiced thereby, adopt procedures for the submission of all or part of the evidence in written form.

(e) The transcript of testimony and exhibits, together with all papers and requests filed in the proceeding, constitutes the exclusive record for decision in accordance with section 557 of this title and, on payment of lawfully prescribed costs, shall be made available to the parties. When an agency decision rests on official notice of a material fact not appearing in the evidence in the record, a party is entitled, on timely request, to an opportunity to show the contrary.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 386; Pub. L. 94–409, §4(c), Sept. 13, 1976, 90 Stat. 1247; Pub. L. 95–251, §2(a)(1), Mar. 27, 1978, 92 Stat. 183; Pub. L. 101–552, §4(a), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2737.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1006. June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §7, 60 Stat. 241.

In subsection (b), the words “hearing examiners” are substituted for “examiners” in paragraph (3) for clarity. The prohibition in the second sentence is restated in positive form and the words “This subchapter does not” are substituted for “but nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to”. The words “employee” and “employees” are substituted for “officer” and “officers” in view of the definition of “employee” in section 2105. The sentence “A presiding or participating employee may at any time disqualify himself.” is substituted for the words “Any such officer may at any time withdraw if he deems himself disqualified.”

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Amendments

1990—Subsec. (c)(6). Pub. L. 101–552, §4(a)(1), inserted before semicolon at end “or by the use of alternative means of dispute resolution as provided in subchapter IV of this chapter”.

Subsec. (c)(7) to (11). Pub. L. 101–552, §4(a)(2), added pars. (7) and (8) and redesignated former pars. (7) and (8) and redesignated former pars. (7) to (9) as (9) to (11), respectively.

1978—Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 95–251 substituted “administrative law judges” for “hearing examiners”.

1976—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 94–409 inserted provisions relating to consideration by agency of a violation under section 557(d) of this title.


Effective Date of 1976 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 94–409 effective 180 days after Sept. 13, 1976, see section 6 of Pub. L. 94–409, set out as an Effective Date note under section 552b of this title.


Hearing Examiners Employed by Department of Agriculture

Functions vested by this subchapter in hearing examiners employed by Department of Agriculture not included in functions of officers, agencies, and employees of that Department transferred to Secretary of Agriculture by 1953 Reorg. Plan No. 2, §1, eff. June 4, 1953, 18 F.R. 3219, 67 Stat. 633, set out in the Appendix to this title.


Hearing Examiners Employed by Department of Commerce

Functions vested by this subchapter in hearing examiners employed by Department of Commerce not included in functions of officers, agencies, and employees of that Department transferred to Secretary of Commerce by 1950 Reorg. Plan No. 5, §1, eff. May 24, 1950, 15 F.R. 3174, 64 Stat. 1263, set out in the Appendix to this title.


Hearing Examiners Employed by Department of the Interior

Functions vested by this subchapter in hearing examiners employed by Department of the Interior not included in functions of officers, agencies, and employees of that Department transferred to Secretary of the Interior by 1950 Reorg. Plan No. 3, §1, eff. May 24, 1950, 15 F.R. 3174, 64 Stat. 1262, set out in the Appendix to this title.


Hearing Examiners Employed by Department of Justice

Functions vested by this subchapter in hearing examiners employed by Department of Justice not included in functions of officers, agencies, and employees of that Department transferred to Attorney General by 1950 Reorg. Plan No. 2, §1, eff. May 24, 1950, 15 F.R. 3173, 64 Stat. 1261, set out in the Appendix to this title.


Hearing Examiners Employed by Department of Labor

Functions vested by this subchapter in hearing examiners employed by Department of Labor not included in functions of officers, agencies, and employees of that Department transferred to Secretary of Labor by 1950 Reorg. Plan No. 6, §1, eff. May 24, 1950, 15 F.R. 3174, 64 Stat. 1263, set out in the Appendix to this title.


Hearing Examiners Employed by Department of the Treasury

Functions vested by this subchapter in hearing examiners employed by Department of the Treasury not included in functions of officers, agencies, and employees of that Department transferred to Secretary of the Treasury by 1950 Reorg. Plan. No. 26, §1, eff. July 31, 1950, 15 F.R. 4935, 64 Stat. 1280, set out in the Appendix to this title.


§557. Initial decisions; conclusiveness; review by agency; submissions by parties; contents of decisions; record

(a) This section applies, according to the provisions thereof, when a hearing is required to be conducted in accordance with section 556 of this title.

(b) When the agency did not preside at the reception of the evidence, the presiding employee or, in cases not subject to section 554(d) of this title, an employee qualified to preside at hearings pursuant to section 556 of this title, shall initially decide the case unless the agency requires, either in specific cases or by general rule, the entire record to be certified to it for decision. When the presiding employee makes an initial decision, that decision then becomes the decision of the agency without further proceedings unless there is an appeal to, or review on motion of, the agency within time provided by rule. On appeal from or review of the initial decision, the agency has all the powers which it would have in making the initial decision except as it may limit the issues on notice or by rule. When the agency makes the decision without having presided at the reception of the evidence, the presiding employee or an employee qualified to preside at hearings pursuant to section 556 of this title shall first recommend a decision, except that in rule making or determining applications for initial licenses—

(1) instead thereof the agency may issue a tentative decision or one of its responsible employees may recommend a decision; or

(2) this procedure may be omitted in a case in which the agency finds on the record that due and timely execution of its functions imperatively and unavoidably so requires.


(c) Before a recommended, initial, or tentative decision, or a decision on agency review of the decision of subordinate employees, the parties are entitled to a reasonable opportunity to submit for the consideration of the employees participating in the decisions—

(1) proposed findings and conclusions; or

(2) exceptions to the decisions or recommended decisions of subordinate employees or to tentative agency decisions; and

(3) supporting reasons for the exceptions or proposed findings or conclusions.


The record shall show the ruling on each finding, conclusion, or exception presented. All decisions, including initial, recommended, and tentative decisions, are a part of the record and shall include a statement of—

(A) findings and conclusions, and the reasons or basis therefor, on all the material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record; and

(B) the appropriate rule, order, sanction, relief, or denial thereof.


(d)(1) In any agency proceeding which is subject to subsection (a) of this section, except to the extent required for the disposition of ex parte matters as authorized by law—

(A) no interested person outside the agency shall make or knowingly cause to be made to any member of the body comprising the agency, administrative law judge, or other employee who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process of the proceeding, an ex parte communication relevant to the merits of the proceeding;

(B) no member of the body comprising the agency, administrative law judge, or other employee who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process of the proceeding, shall make or knowingly cause to be made to any interested person outside the agency an ex parte communication relevant to the merits of the proceeding;

(C) a member of the body comprising the agency, administrative law judge, or other employee who is or may reasonably be expected to be involved in the decisional process of such proceeding who receives, or who makes or knowingly causes to be made, a communication prohibited by this subsection shall place on the public record of the proceeding:

(i) all such written communications;

(ii) memoranda stating the substance of all such oral communications; and

(iii) all written responses, and memoranda stating the substance of all oral responses, to the materials described in clauses (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph;


(D) upon receipt of a communication knowingly made or knowingly caused to be made by a party in violation of this subsection, the agency, administrative law judge, or other employee presiding at the hearing may, to the extent consistent with the interests of justice and the policy of the underlying statutes, require the party to show cause why his claim or interest in the proceeding should not be dismissed, denied, disregarded, or otherwise adversely affected on account of such violation; and

(E) the prohibitions of this subsection shall apply beginning at such time as the agency may designate, but in no case shall they begin to apply later than the time at which a proceeding is noticed for hearing unless the person responsible for the communication has knowledge that it will be noticed, in which case the prohibitions shall apply beginning at the time of his acquisition of such knowledge.


(2) This subsection does not constitute authority to withhold information from Congress.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 387; Pub. L. 94–409, § 4(a), Sept. 13, 1976, 90 Stat. 1246.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1007. June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §8, 60 Stat. 242.

In subsection (b), the word “employee” is substituted for “officer” and “officers” in view of the definition of “employee” in section 2105. The word “either” is added after the word “requires” in the first sentence to eliminate the need for parentheses. The words “the presiding employee or an employee qualified to preside at hearings under section 556 of this title” are substituted for “such officers” in the last sentence. The word “initial” is omitted before “decision”, the final word in the first sentence and the sixth word of the fourth sentence, to avoid confusion between the “initial decision” of the presiding employee and the “initial decision” of the agency.

In subsection (c), the word “employees” is substituted for “officers” in view of the definition of “employee” in section 2105.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Codification

Section 557 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2207 of Title 7, Agriculture.

Section 557a of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2208 of Title 7.


Amendments

1976—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 94–409 added subsec. (d).


Effective Date of 1976 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 94–409 effective 180 days after Sept. 13, 1976, see section 6 of Pub. L. 94–409, set out as an Effective Date note under section 552b of this title.


§558. Imposition of sanctions; determination of applications for licenses; suspension, revocation, and expiration of licenses

(a) This section applies, according to the provisions thereof, to the exercise of a power or authority.

(b) A sanction may not be imposed or a substantive rule or order issued except within jurisdiction delegated to the agency and as authorized by law.

(c) When application is made for a license required by law, the agency, with due regard for the rights and privileges of all the interested parties or adversely affected persons and within a reasonable time, shall set and complete proceedings required to be conducted in accordance with sections 556 and 557 of this title or other proceedings required by law and shall make its decision. Except in cases of willfulness or those in which public health, interest, or safety requires otherwise, the withdrawal, suspension, revocation, or annulment of a license is lawful only if, before the institution of agency proceedings therefor, the licensee has been given—

(1) notice by the agency in writing of the facts or conduct which may warrant the action; and

(2) opportunity to demonstrate or achieve compliance with all lawful requirements.


When the licensee has made timely and sufficient application for a renewal or a new license in accordance with agency rules, a license with reference to an activity of a continuing nature does not expire until the application has been finally determined by the agency.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 388.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1008. June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §9, 60 Stat. 242.

In subsection (b), the prohibition is restated in positive form.

In subsection (c), the words “within a reasonable time” are substituted for “with reasonable dispatch”. The last two sentences are restated for conciseness and clarity and to restate the prohibition in positive form.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Codification

Section 558 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2209 of Title 7, Agriculture.


§559. Effect on other laws; effect of subsequent statute

This subchapter, chapter 7, and sections 1305, 3105, 3344, 4301(2)(E), 5372, and 7521 of this title, and the provisions of section 5335(a)(B) of this title that relate to administrative law judges, do not limit or repeal additional requirements imposed by statute or otherwise recognized by law. Except as otherwise required by law, requirements or privileges relating to evidence or procedure apply equally to agencies and persons. Each agency is granted the authority necessary to comply with the requirements of this subchapter through the issuance of rules or otherwise. Subsequent statute may not be held to supersede or modify this subchapter, chapter 7, sections 1305, 3105, 3344, 4301(2)(E), 5372, or 7521 of this title, or the provisions of section 5335(a)(B) of this title that relate to administrative law judges, except to the extent that it does so expressly.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 388; Pub. L. 90–623, §1(1), Oct. 22, 1968, 82 Stat. 1312; Pub. L. 95–251, §2(a)(1), Mar. 27, 1978, 92 Stat. 183; Pub. L. 95–454, title VIII, §801(a)(3)(B)(iii), Oct. 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 1221.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1011. June 11, 1946, ch. 324, §12, 60 Stat. 244.

In the first and last sentences, the words “This subchapter, chapter 7, and sections 1305, 3105, 3344, 4301(2)(E), 5362, and 7521, and the provisions of section 5335(a)(B) of this title that relate to hearing examiners” are substituted for “this Act” to reflect the codification of the Act in this title. The words “to diminish the constitutional rights of any person or” are omitted as surplusage as there is nothing in the Act that can reasonably be construed to diminish those rights and because a statute may not operate in derogation of the Constitution.

The third sentence of former section 1011 is omitted as covered by technical section 7. The sixth sentence of former section 1011 is omitted as executed.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Amendments

1978—Pub. L. 95–454 substituted “5372” for “5362” wherever appearing.

Pub. L. 95–251 substituted “administrative law judges” for “hearing examiners” wherever appearing.

1968—Pub. L. 90–623 inserted “of this title” after “7521” wherever appearing.


Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 95–454 effective on first day of first applicable pay period beginning on or after the 90th day after Oct. 13, 1978, see section 801(a)(4) of Pub. L. 95–454, set out as an Effective Date note under section 5361 of this title.


Effective Date of 1968 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 90–623 intended to restate without substantive change the law in effect on Oct. 22, 1968, see section 6 of Pub. L. 90–623, set out as a note under section 5334 of this title.


SUBCHAPTER III—NEGOTIATED RULEMAKING PROCEDURE

Prior Provisions

A prior subchapter III (§571 et seq.) was redesignated subchapter V (§591 et seq.) of this chapter.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(1), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944, redesignated subchapter IV of this chapter relating to negotiated rulemaking procedure as this subchapter.


§561. Purpose

The purpose of this subchapter is to establish a framework for the conduct of negotiated rulemaking, consistent with section 553 of this title, to encourage agencies to use the process when it enhances the informal rulemaking process. Nothing in this subchapter should be construed as an attempt to limit innovation and experimentation with the negotiated rulemaking process or with other innovative rulemaking procedures otherwise authorized by law.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4970, §581; renumbered §561, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 581 of this title as this section.


Effective Date of Repeal; Savings Provision

Section 5 of Pub. L. 101–648, as amended by Pub. L. 102–354, §5(a)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 945, which provided that subchapter III of chapter 5 of title 5 and the table of sections corresponding to such subchapter, were repealed, effective 6 years after Nov. 29, 1990, except for then pending proceedings, was repealed by Pub. L. 104–320, §11(a), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3873.


Short Title of 1992 Amendment

Section 1 of Pub. L. 102–354 provided that: “This Act (amending sections 565, 568, 569, 571, 577, 580, 581, and 593 of this title, section 10 of Title 9, Arbitration, and section 173 of Title 29, Labor, renumbering sections 571 to 576, 581 to 590, and 581 to 593 as 591 to 596, 561 to 570, and 571 to 583, respectively, of this title, and amending provisions set out as notes under this section and section 571 of this title) may be cited as the ‘Administrative Procedure Technical Amendments Act of 1991’.”


Short Title of 1990 Amendment

Section 1 of Pub. L. 101–648 provided that: “This Act (enacting this subchapter) may be cited as the ‘Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990’.”


Congressional Findings

Section 2 of Pub. L. 101–648 provided that: “The Congress makes the following findings:

“(1) Government regulation has increased substantially since the enactment of the Administrative Procedure Act (see Short Title note set out preceding section 551 of this title).

“(2) Agencies currently use rulemaking procedures that may discourage the affected parties from meeting and communicating with each other, and may cause parties with different interests to assume conflicting and antagonistic positions and to engage in expensive and time-consuming litigation over agency rules.

“(3) Adversarial rulemaking deprives the affected parties and the public of the benefits of face-to-face negotiations and cooperation in developing and reaching agreement on a rule. It also deprives them of the benefits of shared information, knowledge, expertise, and technical abilities possessed by the affected parties.

“(4) Negotiated rulemaking, in which the parties who will be significantly affected by a rule participate in the development of the rule, can provide significant advantages over adversarial rulemaking.

“(5) Negotiated rulemaking can increase the acceptability and improve the substance of rules, making it less likely that the affected parties will resist enforcement or challenge such rules in court. It may also shorten the amount of time needed to issue final rules.

“(6) Agencies have the authority to establish negotiated rulemaking committees under the laws establishing such agencies and their activities and under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.). Several agencies have successfully used negotiated rulemaking. The process has not been widely used by other agencies, however, in part because such agencies are unfamiliar with the process or uncertain as to the authority for such rulemaking.”


Authorization of Appropriations

Section 4 of Pub. L. 101–648, as amended by Pub. L. 102–354, §5(a)(1), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 945, authorized additional appropriations to Administrative Conference of the United States to carry out Pub. L. 101–648 in fiscal years 1991, 1992, and 1993.


§562. Definitions

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term—

(1) “agency” has the same meaning as in section 551(1) of this title;

(2) “consensus” means unanimous concurrence among the interests represented on a negotiated rulemaking committee established under this subchapter, unless such committee—

(A) agrees to define such term to mean a general but not unanimous concurrence; or

(B) agrees upon another specified definition;


(3) “convener” means a person who impartially assists an agency in determining whether establishment of a negotiated rulemaking committee is feasible and appropriate in a particular rulemaking;

(4) “facilitator” means a person who impartially aids in the discussions and negotiations among the members of a negotiated rulemaking committee to develop a proposed rule;

(5) “interest” means, with respect to an issue or matter, multiple parties which have a similar point of view or which are likely to be affected in a similar manner;

(6) “negotiated rulemaking” means rulemaking through the use of a negotiated rulemaking committee;

(7) “negotiated rulemaking committee” or “committee” means an advisory committee established by an agency in accordance with this subchapter and the Federal Advisory Committee Act to consider and discuss issues for the purpose of reaching a consensus in the development of a proposed rule;

(8) “party” has the same meaning as in section 551(3) of this title;

(9) “person” has the same meaning as in section 551(2) of this title;

(10) “rule” has the same meaning as in section 551(4) of this title; and

(11) “rulemaking” means “rule making” as that term is defined in section 551(5) of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4970, §582; renumbered §562, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in par. (7), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to this title.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 582 of this title as this section.


§563. Determination of need for negotiated rulemaking committee

(a) Determination of Need by the Agency.—An agency may establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to negotiate and develop a proposed rule, if the head of the agency determines that the use of the negotiated rulemaking procedure is in the public interest. In making such a determination, the head of the agency shall consider whether—

(1) there is a need for a rule;

(2) there are a limited number of identifiable interests that will be significantly affected by the rule;

(3) there is a reasonable likelihood that a committee can be convened with a balanced representation of persons who—

(A) can adequately represent the interests identified under paragraph (2); and

(B) are willing to negotiate in good faith to reach a consensus on the proposed rule;


(4) there is a reasonable likelihood that a committee will reach a consensus on the proposed rule within a fixed period of time;

(5) the negotiated rulemaking procedure will not unreasonably delay the notice of proposed rulemaking and the issuance of the final rule;

(6) the agency has adequate resources and is willing to commit such resources, including technical assistance, to the committee; and

(7) the agency, to the maximum extent possible consistent with the legal obligations of the agency, will use the consensus of the committee with respect to the proposed rule as the basis for the rule proposed by the agency for notice and comment.


(b) Use of Conveners.—

(1) Purposes of conveners.—An agency may use the services of a convener to assist the agency in—

(A) identifying persons who will be significantly affected by a proposed rule, including residents of rural areas; and

(B) conducting discussions with such persons to identify the issues of concern to such persons, and to ascertain whether the establishment of a negotiated rulemaking committee is feasible and appropriate in the particular rulemaking.


(2) Duties of conveners.—The convener shall report findings and may make recommendations to the agency. Upon request of the agency, the convener shall ascertain the names of persons who are willing and qualified to represent interests that will be significantly affected by the proposed rule, including residents of rural areas. The report and any recommendations of the convener shall be made available to the public upon request.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4970, §583; renumbered §563, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 583 of this title as this section.


Negotiated Rulemaking Committees

Pub. L. 104–320, §11(e), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3874, provided that: “The Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall—

“(1) within 180 days of the date of the enactment of this Act (Oct. 19, 1996), take appropriate action to expedite the establishment of negotiated rulemaking committees and committees established to resolve disputes under the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (Pub. L. 101–552, see Short Title note set out under section 571 of this title), including, with respect to negotiated rulemaking committees, eliminating any redundant administrative requirements related to filing a committee charter under section 9 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and providing public notice of such committee under section 564 of title 5, United States Code; and

“(2) within one year of the date of the enactment of this Act, submit recommendations to Congress for any necessary legislative changes.”


§564. Publication of notice; applications for membership on committees

(a) Publication of Notice.—If, after considering the report of a convener or conducting its own assessment, an agency decides to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee, the agency shall publish in the Federal Register and, as appropriate, in trade or other specialized publications, a notice which shall include—

(1) an announcement that the agency intends to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to negotiate and develop a proposed rule;

(2) a description of the subject and scope of the rule to be developed, and the issues to be considered;

(3) a list of the interests which are likely to be significantly affected by the rule;

(4) a list of the persons proposed to represent such interests and the person or persons proposed to represent the agency;

(5) a proposed agenda and schedule for completing the work of the committee, including a target date for publication by the agency of a proposed rule for notice and comment;

(6) a description of administrative support for the committee to be provided by the agency, including technical assistance;

(7) a solicitation for comments on the proposal to establish the committee, and the proposed membership of the negotiated rulemaking committee; and

(8) an explanation of how a person may apply or nominate another person for membership on the committee, as provided under subsection (b).


(b) Applications for Membership or 1 Committee.—Persons who will be significantly affected by a proposed rule and who believe that their interests will not be adequately represented by any person specified in a notice under subsection (a)(4) may apply for, or nominate another person for, membership on the negotiated rulemaking committee to represent such interests with respect to the proposed rule. Each application or nomination shall include—

(1) the name of the applicant or nominee and a description of the interests such person shall represent;

(2) evidence that the applicant or nominee is authorized to represent parties related to the interests the person proposes to represent;

(3) a written commitment that the applicant or nominee shall actively participate in good faith in the development of the rule under consideration; and

(4) the reasons that the persons specified in the notice under subsection (a)(4) do not adequately represent the interests of the person submitting the application or nomination.


(c) Period for Submission of Comments and Applications.—The agency shall provide for a period of at least 30 calendar days for the submission of comments and applications under this section.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4971, §584; renumbered §564, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 584 of this title as this section.

1 So in original. Probably should be “on”.


§565. Establishment of committee

(a) Establishment.—

(1) Determination to establish committee.—If after considering comments and applications submitted under section 564, the agency determines that a negotiated rulemaking committee can adequately represent the interests that will be significantly affected by a proposed rule and that it is feasible and appropriate in the particular rulemaking, the agency may establish a negotiated rulemaking committee. In establishing and administering such a committee, the agency shall comply with the Federal Advisory Committee Act with respect to such committee, except as otherwise provided in this subchapter.

(2) Determination not to establish committee.—If after considering such comments and applications, the agency decides not to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee, the agency shall promptly publish notice of such decision and the reasons therefor in the Federal Register and, as appropriate, in trade or other specialized publications, a copy of which shall be sent to any person who applied for, or nominated another person for membership on the negotiating 1 rulemaking committee to represent such interests with respect to the proposed rule.


(b) Membership.—The agency shall limit membership on a negotiated rulemaking committee to 25 members, unless the agency head determines that a greater number of members is necessary for the functioning of the committee or to achieve balanced membership. Each committee shall include at least one person representing the agency.

(c) Administrative Support.—The agency shall provide appropriate administrative support to the negotiated rulemaking committee, including technical assistance.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4972, §585; renumbered §565 and amended Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), (3), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to this title.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), renumbered section 585 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(3), substituted “section 564” for “section 584”.

1 So in original. Probably should be “negotiated”.


§566. Conduct of committee activity

(a) Duties of Committee.—Each negotiated rulemaking committee established under this subchapter shall consider the matter proposed by the agency for consideration and shall attempt to reach a consensus concerning a proposed rule with respect to such matter and any other matter the committee determines is relevant to the proposed rule.

(b) Representatives of Agency on Committee.—The person or persons representing the agency on a negotiated rulemaking committee shall participate in the deliberations and activities of the committee with the same rights and responsibilities as other members of the committee, and shall be authorized to fully represent the agency in the discussions and negotiations of the committee.

(c) Selecting Facilitator.—Notwithstanding section 10(e) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, an agency may nominate either a person from the Federal Government or a person from outside the Federal Government to serve as a facilitator for the negotiations of the committee, subject to the approval of the committee by consensus. If the committee does not approve the nominee of the agency for facilitator, the agency shall submit a substitute nomination. If a committee does not approve any nominee of the agency for facilitator, the committee shall select by consensus a person to serve as facilitator. A person designated to represent the agency in substantive issues may not serve as facilitator or otherwise chair the committee.

(d) Duties of Facilitator.—A facilitator approved or selected by a negotiated rulemaking committee shall—

(1) chair the meetings of the committee in an impartial manner;

(2) impartially assist the members of the committee in conducting discussions and negotiations; and

(3) manage the keeping of minutes and records as required under section 10(b) and (c) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, except that any personal notes and materials of the facilitator or of the members of a committee shall not be subject to section 552 of this title.


(e) Committee Procedures.—A negotiated rulemaking committee established under this subchapter may adopt procedures for the operation of the committee. No provision of section 553 of this title shall apply to the procedures of a negotiated rulemaking committee.

(f) Report of Committee.—If a committee reaches a consensus on a proposed rule, at the conclusion of negotiations the committee shall transmit to the agency that established the committee a report containing the proposed rule. If the committee does not reach a consensus on a proposed rule, the committee may transmit to the agency a report specifying any areas in which the committee reached a consensus. The committee may include in a report any other information, recommendations, or materials that the committee considers appropriate. Any committee member may include as an addendum to the report additional information, recommendations, or materials.

(g) Records of Committee.—In addition to the report required by subsection (f), a committee shall submit to the agency the records required under section 10(b) and (c) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4973, §586; renumbered §566, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


References in Text

Section 10 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsecs. (c), (d)(3), and (g), is section 10 of Pub. L. 92–463, which is set out in the Appendix to this title.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 586 of this title as this section.


§567. Termination of committee

A negotiated rulemaking committee shall terminate upon promulgation of the final rule under consideration, unless the committee's charter contains an earlier termination date or the agency, after consulting the committee, or the committee itself specifies an earlier termination date.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4974, §587; renumbered §567, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 587 of this title as this section.


§568. Services, facilities, and payment of committee member expenses

(a) Services of Conveners and Facilitators.—

(1) In general.—An agency may employ or enter into contracts for the services of an individual or organization to serve as a convener or facilitator for a negotiated rulemaking committee under this subchapter, or may use the services of a Government employee to act as a convener or a facilitator for such a committee.

(2) Determination of conflicting interests.—An agency shall determine whether a person under consideration to serve as convener or facilitator of a committee under paragraph (1) has any financial or other interest that would preclude such person from serving in an impartial and independent manner.


(b) Services and Facilities of Other Entities.—For purposes of this subchapter, an agency may use the services and facilities of other Federal agencies and public and private agencies and instrumentalities with the consent of such agencies and instrumentalities, and with or without reimbursement to such agencies and instrumentalities, and may accept voluntary and uncompensated services without regard to the provisions of section 1342 of title 31. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service may provide services and facilities, with or without reimbursement, to assist agencies under this subchapter, including furnishing conveners, facilitators, and training in negotiated rulemaking.

(c) Expenses of Committee Members.—Members of a negotiated rulemaking committee shall be responsible for their own expenses of participation in such committee, except that an agency may, in accordance with section 7(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, pay for a member's reasonable travel and per diem expenses, expenses to obtain technical assistance, and a reasonable rate of compensation, if—

(1) such member certifies a lack of adequate financial resources to participate in the committee; and

(2) the agency determines that such member's participation in the committee is necessary to assure an adequate representation of the member's interest.


(d) Status of Member as Federal Employee.—A member's receipt of funds under this section or section 569 shall not conclusively determine for purposes of sections 202 through 209 of title 18 whether that member is an employee of the United States Government.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4974, §588; renumbered §568 and amended Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), (4), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


References in Text

Section 7(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (c), is section 7(d) of Pub. L. 92–463, which is set out in the Appendix to this title.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), renumbered section 588 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(4), substituted “section 569” for “section 589”.


§569. Encouraging negotiated rulemaking

(a) The President shall designate an agency or designate or establish an interagency committee to facilitate and encourage agency use of negotiated rulemaking. An agency that is considering, planning, or conducting a negotiated rulemaking may consult with such agency or committee for information and assistance.

(b) To carry out the purposes of this subchapter, an agency planning or conducting a negotiated rulemaking may accept, hold, administer, and utilize gifts, devises, and bequests of property, both real and personal if that agency's acceptance and use of such gifts, devises, or bequests do not create a conflict of interest. Gifts and bequests of money and proceeds from sales of other property received as gifts, devises, or bequests shall be deposited in the Treasury and shall be disbursed upon the order of the head of such agency. Property accepted pursuant to this section, and the proceeds thereof, shall be used as nearly as possible in accordance with the terms of the gifts, devises, or bequests.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4975, §589; renumbered §569 and amended Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), (5), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944; Pub. L. 104–320, §11(b)(1), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3873.)


Amendments

1996—Pub. L. 104–320 in section catchline substituted “Encouraging negotiated rulemaking” for “Role of the Administrative Conference of the United States and other entities”, and in text added subsecs. (a) and (b) and struck out former subsecs. (a) to (g) which related to: in subsec. (a), consultation by agencies; in subsec. (b), roster of potential conveners and facilitators; in subsec. (c), procedures to obtain conveners and facilitators; in subsec. (d), compilation of data on negotiated rulemaking and report to Congress; in subsec. (e), training in negotiated rulemaking; in subsec. (f), payment of expenses of agencies; and in subsec. (g), use of funds of the conference.

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), renumbered section 589 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(5)(A), substituted “section 566” for “section 586”.

Subsec. (f)(2). Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(5)(B), substituted “section 568(c)” for “section 588(c)”.

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(5)(C), substituted “section 595(c)(12)” for “section 575(c)(12)”.


§570. Judicial review

Any agency action relating to establishing, assisting, or terminating a negotiated rulemaking committee under this subchapter shall not be subject to judicial review. Nothing in this section shall bar judicial review of a rule if such judicial review is otherwise provided by law. A rule which is the product of negotiated rulemaking and is subject to judicial review shall not be accorded any greater deference by a court than a rule which is the product of other rulemaking procedures.

(Added Pub. L. 101–648, §3(a), Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4976, §590; renumbered §570, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(a)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 590 of this title as this section.


§570a. Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.

(Added Pub. L. 104–320, §11(d)(1), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3873.)


SUBCHAPTER IV—ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS

Codification

Another subchapter IV (§581 et seq.) relating to negotiated rulemaking procedure was redesignated subchapter III (§561 et seq.) of this chapter.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(1), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944, transferred this subchapter so as to appear immediately after subchapter III of this chapter.


§571. Definitions

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term—

(1) “agency” has the same meaning as in section 551(1) of this title;

(2) “administrative program” includes a Federal function which involves protection of the public interest and the determination of rights, privileges, and obligations of private persons through rule making, adjudication, licensing, or investigation, as those terms are used in subchapter II of this chapter;

(3) “alternative means of dispute resolution” means any procedure that is used to resolve issues in controversy, including, but not limited to, conciliation, facilitation, mediation, factfinding, minitrials, arbitration, and use of ombuds, or any combination thereof;

(4) “award” means any decision by an arbitrator resolving the issues in controversy;

(5) “dispute resolution communication” means any oral or written communication prepared for the purposes of a dispute resolution proceeding, including any memoranda, notes or work product of the neutral, parties or nonparty participant; except that a written agreement to enter into a dispute resolution proceeding, or final written agreement or arbitral award reached as a result of a dispute resolution proceeding, is not a dispute resolution communication;

(6) “dispute resolution proceeding” means any process in which an alternative means of dispute resolution is used to resolve an issue in controversy in which a neutral is appointed and specified parties participate;

(7) “in confidence” means, with respect to information, that the information is provided—

(A) with the expressed intent of the source that it not be disclosed; or

(B) under circumstances that would create the reasonable expectation on behalf of the source that the information will not be disclosed;


(8) “issue in controversy” means an issue which is material to a decision concerning an administrative program of an agency, and with which there is disagreement—

(A) between an agency and persons who would be substantially affected by the decision; or

(B) between persons who would be substantially affected by the decision;


(9) “neutral” means an individual who, with respect to an issue in controversy, functions specifically to aid the parties in resolving the controversy;

(10) “party” means—

(A) for a proceeding with named parties, the same as in section 551(3) of this title; and

(B) for a proceeding without named parties, a person who will be significantly affected by the decision in the proceeding and who participates in the proceeding;


(11) “person” has the same meaning as in section 551(2) of this title; and

(12) “roster” means a list of persons qualified to provide services as neutrals.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2738, §581; renumbered §571 and amended Pub. L. 102–354, §§3(b)(2), 5(b)(1), (2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944, 946; Pub. L. 104–320, §2, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3870.)


Codification

Section 571 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2256 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 571 was renumbered section 591 of this title.


Amendments

1996—Par. (3). Pub. L. 104–320, §2(1), struck out “, in lieu of an adjudication as defined in section 551(7) of this title,” after “any procedure that is used”, struck out “settlement negotiations,” after “but not limited to,” and substituted “arbitration, and use of ombuds” for “and arbitration”.

Par. (8). Pub. L. 104–320, §2(2), substituted “decision;” for “decision,” at end of subpar. (B), and struck out closing provisions which read as follows: “except that such term shall not include any matter specified under section 2302 or 7121(c) of this title;”.

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), renumbered section 581 of this title as this section.

Par. (3). Pub. L. 102–354, §5(b)(1), inserted comma after “including”.

Par. (8). Pub. L. 102–354, §5(b)(2), amended par. (8) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (8) read as follows: “ ‘issue in controversy’ means an issue which is material to a decision concerning an administrative program of an agency, and with which there is disagreement between the agency and persons who would be substantially affected by the decision but shall not extend to matters specified under the provisions of sections 2302 and 7121(c) of title 5;”.


Termination Date; Savings Provision

Section 11 of Pub. L. 101–552, as amended by Pub. L. 104–106, div. D, title XLIII, §4321(i)(5), Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 676, which provided that the authority of agencies to use dispute resolution proceedings under this Act (see Short Title note below) was to terminate on Oct. 1, 1995, except with respect to pending proceedings, was repealed by Pub. L. 104–320, §9, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3872.


Short Title of 1996 Amendment

Section 1 of Pub. L. 104–320 provided that: “This Act (enacting sections 570a and 584 of this title, amending this section, sections 569, 573 to 575, 580, 581, and 583 of this title, section 2304 of Title 10, Armed Forces, section 1491 of Title 28, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, section 173 of Title 29, Labor, section 3556 of Title 31, Money and Finance, and sections 253 and 605 of Title 41, Public Contracts, repealing section 582 of this title, enacting provisions set out as notes under section 563 of this title, section 1491 of Title 28, and section 3556 of Title 31, amending provisions set out as notes under this section, and repealing provisions set out as notes under this section and section 561 of this title) may be cited as the ‘Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996’.”


Short Title

Section 1 of Pub. L. 101–552 provided that: “This Act (enacting this subchapter, amending section 556 of this title, section 10 of Title 9, Arbitration, section 2672 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, section 173 of Title 29, Labor, section 3711 of Title 31, Money and Finance, and sections 605 and 607 of Title 41, Public Contracts, and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section) may be cited as the ‘Administrative Dispute Resolution Act’.”


Congressional Findings

Section 2 of Pub. L. 101–552 provided that: “The Congress finds that—

“(1) administrative procedure, as embodied in chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code, and other statutes, is intended to offer a prompt, expert, and inexpensive means of resolving disputes as an alternative to litigation in the Federal courts;

“(2) administrative proceedings have become increasingly formal, costly, and lengthy resulting in unnecessary expenditures of time and in a decreased likelihood of achieving consensual resolution of disputes;

“(3) alternative means of dispute resolution have been used in the private sector for many years and, in appropriate circumstances, have yielded decisions that are faster, less expensive, and less contentious;

“(4) such alternative means can lead to more creative, efficient, and sensible outcomes;

“(5) such alternative means may be used advantageously in a wide variety of administrative programs;

“(6) explicit authorization of the use of well-tested dispute resolution techniques will eliminate ambiguity of agency authority under existing law;

“(7) Federal agencies may not only receive the benefit of techniques that were developed in the private sector, but may also take the lead in the further development and refinement of such techniques; and

“(8) the availability of a wide range of dispute resolution procedures, and an increased understanding of the most effective use of such procedures, will enhance the operation of the Government and better serve the public.”


Promotion of Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution

Section 3 of Pub. L. 101–552, as amended by Pub. L. 104–320, §4(a), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3871, provided that:

“(a) Promulgation of Agency Policy.—Each agency shall adopt a policy that addresses the use of alternative means of dispute resolution and case management. In developing such a policy, each agency shall—

“(1) consult with the agency designated by, or the interagency committee designated or established by, the President under section 573 of title 5, United States Code, to facilitate and encourage agency use of alternative dispute resolution under subchapter IV of chapter 5 of such title; and

“(2) examine alternative means of resolving disputes in connection with—

“(A) formal and informal adjudications;

“(B) rulemakings;

“(C) enforcement actions;

“(D) issuing and revoking licenses or permits;

“(E) contract administration;

“(F) litigation brought by or against the agency; and

“(G) other agency actions.

“(b) Dispute Resolution Specialists.—The head of each agency shall designate a senior official to be the dispute resolution specialist of the agency. Such official shall be responsible for the implementation of—

“(1) the provisions of this Act (see Short Title note above) and the amendments made by this Act; and

“(2) the agency policy developed under subsection (a).

“(c) Training.—Each agency shall provide for training on a regular basis for the dispute resolution specialist of the agency and other employees involved in implementing the policy of the agency developed under subsection (a). Such training should encompass the theory and practice of negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or related techniques. The dispute resolution specialist shall periodically recommend to the agency head agency employees who would benefit from similar training.

“(d) Procedures for Grants and Contracts.—

“(1) Each agency shall review each of its standard agreements for contracts, grants, and other assistance and shall determine whether to amend any such standard agreements to authorize and encourage the use of alternative means of dispute resolution.

“(2)(A) Within 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act (Nov. 15, 1990), the Federal Acquisition Regulation shall be amended, as necessary, to carry out this Act (see Short Title note above) and the amendments made by this Act.

“(B) For purposes of this section, the term ‘Federal Acquisition Regulation’ means the single system of Government-wide procurement regulation referred to in section 6(a) of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act ((former) 41 U.S.C. 405(a)) (now 41 U.S.C. 1121(a) to (c)(1)).”


Use of Nonattorneys

Section 9 of Pub. L. 101–552 provided that:

“(a) Representation of Parties.—Each agency, in developing a policy on the use of alternative means of dispute resolution under this Act (see Short Title note above), shall develop a policy with regard to the representation by persons other than attorneys of parties in alternative dispute resolution proceedings and shall identify any of its administrative programs with numerous claims or disputes before the agency and determine—

“(1) the extent to which individuals are represented or assisted by attorneys or by persons who are not attorneys; and

“(2) whether the subject areas of the applicable proceedings or the procedures are so complex or specialized that only attorneys may adequately provide such representation or assistance.

“(b) Representation and Assistance by Nonattorneys.—A person who is not an attorney may provide representation or assistance to any individual in a claim or dispute with an agency, if—

“(1) such claim or dispute concerns an administrative program identified under subsection (a);

“(2) such agency determines that the proceeding or procedure does not necessitate representation or assistance by an attorney under subsection (a)(2); and

“(3) such person meets any requirement of the agency to provide representation or assistance in such a claim or dispute.

“(c) Disqualification of Representation or Assistance.—Any agency that adopts regulations under subchapter IV of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code, to permit representation or assistance by persons who are not attorneys shall review the rules of practice before such agency to—

“(1) ensure that any rules pertaining to disqualification of attorneys from practicing before the agency shall also apply, as appropriate, to other persons who provide representation or assistance; and

“(2) establish effective agency procedures for enforcing such rules of practice and for receiving complaints from affected persons.”


Definitions

Section 10 of Pub. L. 101–552, as amended by Pub. L. 102–354, §5(b)(6), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 946, provided that: “As used in this Act (see Short Title note above), the terms ‘agency’, ‘administrative program’, and ‘alternative means of dispute resolution’ have the meanings given such terms in section 571 of title 5, United States Code (enacted as section 581 of title 5, United States Code, by section 4(b) of this Act, and redesignated as section 571 of such title by section 3(b) of the Administrative Procedure Technical Amendments Act of 1991 (Pub. L. 102–354)).”


§572. General authority

(a) An agency may use a dispute resolution proceeding for the resolution of an issue in controversy that relates to an administrative program, if the parties agree to such proceeding.

(b) An agency shall consider not using a dispute resolution proceeding if—

(1) a definitive or authoritative resolution of the matter is required for precedential value, and such a proceeding is not likely to be accepted generally as an authoritative precedent;

(2) the matter involves or may bear upon significant questions of Government policy that require additional procedures before a final resolution may be made, and such a proceeding would not likely serve to develop a recommended policy for the agency;

(3) maintaining established policies is of special importance, so that variations among individual decisions are not increased and such a proceeding would not likely reach consistent results among individual decisions;

(4) the matter significantly affects persons or organizations who are not parties to the proceeding;

(5) a full public record of the proceeding is important, and a dispute resolution proceeding cannot provide such a record; and

(6) the agency must maintain continuing jurisdiction over the matter with authority to alter the disposition of the matter in the light of changed circumstances, and a dispute resolution proceeding would interfere with the agency's fulfilling that requirement.


(c) Alternative means of dispute resolution authorized under this subchapter are voluntary procedures which supplement rather than limit other available agency dispute resolution techniques.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2739, §582; renumbered §572, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Codification

Section 572 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2257 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 572 was renumbered section 592 of this title.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 582 of this title as this section.


§573. Neutrals

(a) A neutral may be a permanent or temporary officer or employee of the Federal Government or any other individual who is acceptable to the parties to a dispute resolution proceeding. A neutral shall have no official, financial, or personal conflict of interest with respect to the issues in controversy, unless such interest is fully disclosed in writing to all parties and all parties agree that the neutral may serve.

(b) A neutral who serves as a conciliator, facilitator, or mediator serves at the will of the parties.

(c) The President shall designate an agency or designate or establish an interagency committee to facilitate and encourage agency use of dispute resolution under this subchapter. Such agency or interagency committee, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies and professional organizations experienced in matters concerning dispute resolution, shall—

(1) encourage and facilitate agency use of alternative means of dispute resolution; and

(2) develop procedures that permit agencies to obtain the services of neutrals on an expedited basis.


(d) An agency may use the services of one or more employees of other agencies to serve as neutrals in dispute resolution proceedings. The agencies may enter into an interagency agreement that provides for the reimbursement by the user agency or the parties of the full or partial cost of the services of such an employee.

(e) Any agency may enter into a contract with any person for services as a neutral, or for training in connection with alternative means of dispute resolution. The parties in a dispute resolution proceeding shall agree on compensation for the neutral that is fair and reasonable to the Government.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2739, §583; renumbered §573, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944; amended Pub. L. 104–320, §7(b), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3872.)


Codification

Section 573 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2258 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 573 was renumbered section 593 of this title.


Amendments

1996—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–320, §7(b)(1), added subsec. (c) and struck out former subsec. (c) which related to power of Administrative Conference of the United States to establish and utilize standards for neutrals and to enter into contracts for services of neutrals.

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 104–320, §7(b)(2), struck out “on a roster established under subsection (c)(2) or a roster maintained by other public or private organizations, or individual” after “contract with any person”.

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 583 of this title as this section.


§574. Confidentiality

(a) Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e), a neutral in a dispute resolution proceeding shall not voluntarily disclose or through discovery or compulsory process be required to disclose any dispute resolution communication or any communication provided in confidence to the neutral, unless—

(1) all parties to the dispute resolution proceeding and the neutral consent in writing, and, if the dispute resolution communication was provided by a nonparty participant, that participant also consents in writing;

(2) the dispute resolution communication has already been made public;

(3) the dispute resolution communication is required by statute to be made public, but a neutral should make such communication public only if no other person is reasonably available to disclose the communication; or

(4) a court determines that such testimony or disclosure is necessary to—

(A) prevent a manifest injustice;

(B) help establish a violation of law; or

(C) prevent harm to the public health or safety,


of sufficient magnitude in the particular case to outweigh the integrity of dispute resolution proceedings in general by reducing the confidence of parties in future cases that their communications will remain confidential.


(b) A party to a dispute resolution proceeding shall not voluntarily disclose or through discovery or compulsory process be required to disclose any dispute resolution communication, unless—

(1) the communication was prepared by the party seeking disclosure;

(2) all parties to the dispute resolution proceeding consent in writing;

(3) the dispute resolution communication has already been made public;

(4) the dispute resolution communication is required by statute to be made public;

(5) a court determines that such testimony or disclosure is necessary to—

(A) prevent a manifest injustice;

(B) help establish a violation of law; or

(C) prevent harm to the public health and safety,


of sufficient magnitude in the particular case to outweigh the integrity of dispute resolution proceedings in general by reducing the confidence of parties in future cases that their communications will remain confidential;

(6) the dispute resolution communication is relevant to determining the existence or meaning of an agreement or award that resulted from the dispute resolution proceeding or to the enforcement of such an agreement or award; or

(7) except for dispute resolution communications generated by the neutral, the dispute resolution communication was provided to or was available to all parties to the dispute resolution proceeding.


(c) Any dispute resolution communication that is disclosed in violation of subsection (a) or (b), shall not be admissible in any proceeding relating to the issues in controversy with respect to which the communication was made.

(d)(1) The parties may agree to alternative confidential procedures for disclosures by a neutral. Upon such agreement the parties shall inform the neutral before the commencement of the dispute resolution proceeding of any modifications to the provisions of subsection (a) that will govern the confidentiality of the dispute resolution proceeding. If the parties do not so inform the neutral, subsection (a) shall apply.

(2) To qualify for the exemption established under subsection (j), an alternative confidential procedure under this subsection may not provide for less disclosure than the confidential procedures otherwise provided under this section.

(e) If a demand for disclosure, by way of discovery request or other legal process, is made upon a neutral regarding a dispute resolution communication, the neutral shall make reasonable efforts to notify the parties and any affected nonparty participants of the demand. Any party or affected nonparty participant who receives such notice and within 15 calendar days does not offer to defend a refusal of the neutral to disclose the requested information shall have waived any objection to such disclosure.

(f) Nothing in this section shall prevent the discovery or admissibility of any evidence that is otherwise discoverable, merely because the evidence was presented in the course of a dispute resolution proceeding.

(g) Subsections (a) and (b) shall have no effect on the information and data that are necessary to document an agreement reached or order issued pursuant to a dispute resolution proceeding.

(h) Subsections (a) and (b) shall not prevent the gathering of information for research or educational purposes, in cooperation with other agencies, governmental entities, or dispute resolution programs, so long as the parties and the specific issues in controversy are not identifiable.

(i) Subsections (a) and (b) shall not prevent use of a dispute resolution communication to resolve a dispute between the neutral in a dispute resolution proceeding and a party to or participant in such proceeding, so long as such dispute resolution communication is disclosed only to the extent necessary to resolve such dispute.

(j) A dispute resolution communication which is between a neutral and a party and which may not be disclosed under this section shall also be exempt from disclosure under section 552(b)(3).

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2740, §584; renumbered §574, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944; amended Pub. L. 104–320, §3, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3870.)


Codification

Section 574 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2255 of Title 7, Agriculture.

Section 574a of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2226 of Title 7.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 574 was renumbered section 594 of this title.


Amendments

1996—Subsecs. (a), (b). Pub. L. 104–320, §3(a), in introductory provisions struck out “any information concerning” after “be required to disclose”.

Subsec. (b)(7). Pub. L. 104–320, §3(b), amended par. (7) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (7) read as follows: “the dispute resolution communication was provided to or was available to all parties to the dispute resolution proceeding”.

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–320, §3(c), designated existing provisions as par. (1) and added par. (2).

Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 104–320, §3(d), amended subsec. (j) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (j) read as follows: “This section shall not be considered a statute specifically exempting disclosure under section 552(b)(3) of this title.”

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 584 of this title as this section.


§575. Authorization of arbitration

(a)(1) Arbitration may be used as an alternative means of dispute resolution whenever all parties consent. Consent may be obtained either before or after an issue in controversy has arisen. A party may agree to—

(A) submit only certain issues in controversy to arbitration; or

(B) arbitration on the condition that the award must be within a range of possible outcomes.


(2) The arbitration agreement that sets forth the subject matter submitted to the arbitrator shall be in writing. Each such arbitration agreement shall specify a maximum award that may be issued by the arbitrator and may specify other conditions limiting the range of possible outcomes.

(3) An agency may not require any person to consent to arbitration as a condition of entering into a contract or obtaining a benefit.

(b) An officer or employee of an agency shall not offer to use arbitration for the resolution of issues in controversy unless such officer or employee—

(1) would otherwise have authority to enter into a settlement concerning the matter; or

(2) is otherwise specifically authorized by the agency to consent to the use of arbitration.


(c) Prior to using binding arbitration under this subchapter, the head of an agency, in consultation with the Attorney General and after taking into account the factors in section 572(b), shall issue guidance on the appropriate use of binding arbitration and when an officer or employee of the agency has authority to settle an issue in controversy through binding arbitration.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2742, §585; renumbered §575, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944; amended Pub. L. 104–320, §8(c), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3872.)


Codification

Section 575 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2259 of Title 7, Agriculture.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 575 was renumbered section 595 of this title.


Amendments

1996—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 104–320, §8(c)(1), (2), substituted “The” for “Any” and inserted at end “Each such arbitration agreement shall specify a maximum award that may be issued by the arbitrator and may specify other conditions limiting the range of possible outcomes.”

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–320, §8(c)(3), in introductory provisions substituted “shall not offer to use arbitration for the resolution of issues in controversy unless” for “may offer to use arbitration for the resolution of issues in controversy, if”, and in par. (1) substituted “would otherwise have authority” for “has authority”.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–320, §8(c)(4), added subsec. (c).

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 585 of this title as this section.


§576. Enforcement of arbitration agreements

An agreement to arbitrate a matter to which this subchapter applies is enforceable pursuant to section 4 of title 9, and no action brought to enforce such an agreement shall be dismissed nor shall relief therein be denied on the grounds that it is against the United States or that the United States is an indispensable party.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2742, §586; renumbered §576, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Codification

Section 576 of former Title 5, Executive Departments and Government Officers and Employees, was transferred to section 2260 of Title 7, Agriculture, and subsequently repealed by Pub. L. 107–171, title X, §10418(a)(3), May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 507.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 576 was renumbered section 596 of this title.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 586 of this title as this section.


§577. Arbitrators

(a) The parties to an arbitration proceeding shall be entitled to participate in the selection of the arbitrator.

(b) The arbitrator shall be a neutral who meets the criteria of section 573 of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2742, §587; renumbered §577 and amended Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), (3), Aug. 26, 1992, 102 Stat. 944, 945.)


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), renumbered section 587 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(3), substituted “section 573” for “section 583”.


§578. Authority of the arbitrator

An arbitrator to whom a dispute is referred under this subchapter may—

(1) regulate the course of and conduct arbitral hearings;

(2) administer oaths and affirmations;

(3) compel the attendance of witnesses and production of evidence at the hearing under the provisions of section 7 of title 9 only to the extent the agency involved is otherwise authorized by law to do so; and

(4) make awards.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2742, §588; renumbered §578, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 588 of this title as this section.


§579. Arbitration proceedings

(a) The arbitrator shall set a time and place for the hearing on the dispute and shall notify the parties not less than 5 days before the hearing.

(b) Any party wishing a record of the hearing shall—

(1) be responsible for the preparation of such record;

(2) notify the other parties and the arbitrator of the preparation of such record;

(3) furnish copies to all identified parties and the arbitrator; and

(4) pay all costs for such record, unless the parties agree otherwise or the arbitrator determines that the costs should be apportioned.


(c)(1) The parties to the arbitration are entitled to be heard, to present evidence material to the controversy, and to cross-examine witnesses appearing at the hearing.

(2) The arbitrator may, with the consent of the parties, conduct all or part of the hearing by telephone, television, computer, or other electronic means, if each party has an opportunity to participate.

(3) The hearing shall be conducted expeditiously and in an informal manner.

(4) The arbitrator may receive any oral or documentary evidence, except that irrelevant, immaterial, unduly repetitious, or privileged evidence may be excluded by the arbitrator.

(5) The arbitrator shall interpret and apply relevant statutory and regulatory requirements, legal precedents, and policy directives.

(d) No interested person shall make or knowingly cause to be made to the arbitrator an unauthorized ex parte communication relevant to the merits of the proceeding, unless the parties agree otherwise. If a communication is made in violation of this subsection, the arbitrator shall ensure that a memorandum of the communication is prepared and made a part of the record, and that an opportunity for rebuttal is allowed. Upon receipt of a communication made in violation of this subsection, the arbitrator may, to the extent consistent with the interests of justice and the policies underlying this subchapter, require the offending party to show cause why the claim of such party should not be resolved against such party as a result of the improper conduct.

(e) The arbitrator shall make the award within 30 days after the close of the hearing, or the date of the filing of any briefs authorized by the arbitrator, whichever date is later, unless—

(1) the parties agree to some other time limit; or

(2) the agency provides by rule for some other time limit.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2742, §589; renumbered §579, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 589 of this title as this section.


§580. Arbitration awards

(a)(1) Unless the agency provides otherwise by rule, the award in an arbitration proceeding under this subchapter shall include a brief, informal discussion of the factual and legal basis for the award, but formal findings of fact or conclusions of law shall not be required.

(2) The prevailing parties shall file the award with all relevant agencies, along with proof of service on all parties.

(b) The award in an arbitration proceeding shall become final 30 days after it is served on all parties. Any agency that is a party to the proceeding may extend this 30-day period for an additional 30-day period by serving a notice of such extension on all other parties before the end of the first 30-day period.

(c) A final award is binding on the parties to the arbitration proceeding, and may be enforced pursuant to sections 9 through 13 of title 9. No action brought to enforce such an award shall be dismissed nor shall relief therein be denied on the grounds that it is against the United States or that the United States is an indispensable party.

(d) An award entered under this subchapter in an arbitration proceeding may not serve as an estoppel in any other proceeding for any issue that was resolved in the proceeding. Such an award also may not be used as precedent or otherwise be considered in any factually unrelated proceeding, whether conducted under this subchapter, by an agency, or in a court, or in any other arbitration proceeding.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2743, §590; renumbered §580 and amended Pub. L. 102–354, §§3(b)(2), 5(b)(3), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944, 946; Pub. L. 104–320, §8(a), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3872.)


Amendments

1996—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–320, §8(a), redesignated subsec. (d) as (c) and struck out former subsec. (c) which read as follows: “The head of any agency that is a party to an arbitration proceeding conducted under this subchapter is authorized to terminate the arbitration proceeding or vacate any award issued pursuant to the proceeding before the award becomes final by serving on all other parties a written notice to that effect, in which case the award shall be null and void. Notice shall be provided to all parties to the arbitration proceeding of any request by a party, nonparty participant or other person that the agency head terminate the arbitration proceeding or vacate the award. An employee or agent engaged in the performance of investigative or prosecuting functions for an agency may not, in that or a factually related case, advise in a decision under this subsection to terminate an arbitration proceeding or to vacate an arbitral award, except as witness or counsel in public proceedings.”

Subsecs. (d), (e). Pub. L. 104–320, §8(a)(2), redesignated subsec. (e) as (d). Former subsec. (d) redesignated (c).

Subsecs. (f), (g). Pub. L. 104–320, §8(a)(1), struck out subsecs. (f) and (g) which read as follows:

“(f) An arbitral award that is vacated under subsection (c) shall not be admissible in any proceeding relating to the issues in controversy with respect to which the award was made.

“(g) If an agency head vacates an award under subsection (c), a party to the arbitration (other than the United States) may within 30 days of such action petition the agency head for an award of fees and other expenses (as defined in section 504(b)(1)(A) of this title) incurred in connection with the arbitration proceeding. The agency head shall award the petitioning party those fees and expenses that would not have been incurred in the absence of such arbitration proceeding, unless the agency head or his or her designee finds that special circumstances make such an award unjust. The procedures for reviewing applications for awards shall, where appropriate, be consistent with those set forth in subsection (a)(2) and (3) of section 504 of this title. Such fees and expenses shall be paid from the funds of the agency that vacated the award.”

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), renumbered section 590 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 102–354, §5(b)(3), substituted “fees and other expenses” for “attorney fees and expenses”.


§581. Judicial Review 1

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person adversely affected or aggrieved by an award made in an arbitration proceeding conducted under this subchapter may bring an action for review of such award only pursuant to the provisions of sections 9 through 13 of title 9.

(b) A decision by an agency to use or not to use a dispute resolution proceeding under this subchapter shall be committed to the discretion of the agency and shall not be subject to judicial review, except that arbitration shall be subject to judicial review under section 10(b) 2 of title 9.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2744, §591; renumbered §581 and amended Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), (4), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944, 945; Pub. L. 104–320, §8(b), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3872.)


References in Text

Section 10(b) of title 9, referred to in subsec. (b), was redesignated section 10(c) of title 9 by Pub. L. 107–169, §1(4), May 7, 2002, 116 Stat. 132.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 581 was renumbered section 571 of this title.

Another prior section 581 was renumbered section 561 of this title.


Amendments

1996—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–320, which directed that section 581(d) of this title be amended by striking “(1)” after “(b)” and by striking par. (2), was executed to subsec. (b) of this section to reflect the probable intent of Congress. Prior to amendment, par. (2) read as follows: “A decision by the head of an agency under section 580 to terminate an arbitration proceeding or vacate an arbitral award shall be committed to the discretion of the agency and shall not be subject to judicial review.”

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), renumbered section 591 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(4), substituted “section 580” for “section 590”.

1 So in original. Probably should not be capitalized.

2 See References in Text note below.


(§582. Repealed. Pub. L. 104–320, §4(b)(1), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3871)

Section, added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2744, §592; renumbered §582, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944, related to compilation of data on use of alternative means of dispute resolution in conducting agency proceedings.


§583. Support services

For the purposes of this subchapter, an agency may use (with or without reimbursement) the services and facilities of other Federal agencies, State, local, and tribal governments, public and private organizations and agencies, and individuals, with the consent of such agencies, organizations, and individuals. An agency may accept voluntary and uncompensated services for purposes of this subchapter without regard to the provisions of section 1342 of title 31.

(Added Pub. L. 101–552, §4(b), Nov. 15, 1990, 104 Stat. 2745, §593; renumbered §583, Pub. L. 102–354, §3(b)(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944; amended Pub. L. 104–320, §5, Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3871.)


Prior Provisions

Prior sections 583 to 590 were renumbered sections 573 to 580 of this title, respectively.

Other prior sections 583 to 590 were renumbered sections 563 to 570 of this title, respectively.


Amendments

1996—Pub. L. 104–320 inserted “State, local, and tribal governments,” after “other Federal agencies,”.

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 593 of this title as this section.


§584. Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this subchapter.

(Added Pub. L. 104–320, §10(a), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3873.)


SUBCHAPTER V—ADMINISTRATIVE CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES

Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §2(1), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944, redesignated subchapter III of this chapter as this subchapter.


Termination of Administrative Conference of United States

Pub. L. 104–52, title IV, Nov. 19, 1995, 109 Stat. 480, provided: “For necessary expenses of the Administrative Conference of the United States, established under subchapter V of chapter 5 of title 5, United States Code, $600,000: Provided, That these funds shall only be available for the purposes of the prompt and orderly termination of the Administrative Conference of the United States by February 1, 1996.”


§591. Purposes

The purposes of this subchapter are—

(1) to provide suitable arrangements through which Federal agencies, assisted by outside experts, may cooperatively study mutual problems, exchange information, and develop recommendations for action by proper authorities to the end that private rights may be fully protected and regulatory activities and other Federal responsibilities may be carried out expeditiously in the public interest;

(2) to promote more effective public participation and efficiency in the rulemaking process;

(3) to reduce unnecessary litigation in the regulatory process;

(4) to improve the use of science in the regulatory process; and

(5) to improve the effectiveness of laws applicable to the regulatory process.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 388, §571; renumbered §591, Pub. L. 102–354, §2(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944; Pub. L. 108–401, §2(a), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2255.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1045(e). Aug. 30, 1964, Pub. L. 88–499, §2(e), 78 Stat. 615.

The words “this subchapter” are substituted for “this Act” to reflect the codification of the Administrative Conference Act in this subchapter.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 591 was renumbered section 581 of this title.


Amendments

2004—Pub. L. 108–401 amended section catchline and text generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “It is the purpose of this subchapter to provide suitable arrangements through which Federal agencies, assisted by outside experts, may cooperatively study mutual problems, exchange information, and develop recommendations for action by proper authorities to the end that private rights may be fully protected and regulatory activities and other Federal responsibilities may be carried out expeditiously in the public interest.”

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 571 of this title as this section.


§592. Definitions

For the purpose of this subchapter—

(1) “administrative program” includes a Federal function which involves protection of the public interest and the determination of rights, privileges, and obligations of private persons through rule making, adjudication, licensing, or investigation, as those terms are used in subchapter II of this chapter, except that it does not include a military or foreign affairs function of the United States;

(2) “administrative agency” means an authority as defined by section 551(1) of this title; and

(3) “administrative procedure” means procedure used in carrying out an administrative program and is to be broadly construed to include any aspect of agency organization, procedure, or management which may affect the equitable consideration of public and private interests, the fairness of agency decisions, the speed of agency action, and the relationship of operating methods to later judicial review, but does not include the scope of agency responsibility as established by law or matters of substantive policy committed by law to agency discretion.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 388, §572; renumbered §592, Pub. L. 102–354, §2(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1045a. Aug. 30, 1964, Pub. L. 88–499, §3, 78 Stat. 615.

In paragraph (1), the words “subchapter II of this chapter” are substituted for “the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 1001–1011)” to reflect the codification of the Act in this title. The word “naval” is omitted as included in “military”.

In paragraph (2), the words “section 551(1) of this title” are substituted for “section 2(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 1001(a))”.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 592 was renumbered section 582 of this title and was subsequently repealed.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 572 of this title as this section.


§593. Administrative Conference of the United States

(a) The Administrative Conference of the United States consists of not more than 101 nor less than 75 members appointed as set forth in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) The Conference is composed of—

(1) a full-time Chairman appointed for a 5-year term by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Chairman is entitled to pay at the highest rate established by statute for the chairman of an independent regulatory board or commission, and may continue to serve until his successor is appointed and has qualified;

(2) the chairman of each independent regulatory board or commission or an individual designated by the board or commission;

(3) the head of each Executive department or other administrative agency which is designated by the President, or an individual designated by the head of the department or agency;

(4) when authorized by the Council referred to in section 595(b) of this title, one or more appointees from a board, commission, department, or agency referred to in this subsection, designated by the head thereof with, in the case of a board or commission, the approval of the board or commission;

(5) individuals appointed by the President to membership on the Council who are not otherwise members of the Conference; and

(6) not more than 40 other members appointed by the Chairman, with the approval of the Council, for terms of 2 years, except that the number of members appointed by the Chairman may at no time be less than one-third nor more than two-fifths of the total number of members. The Chairman shall select the members in a manner which will provide broad representation of the views of private citizens and utilize diverse experience. The members shall be members of the practicing bar, scholars in the field of administrative law or government, or others specially informed by knowledge and experience with respect to Federal administrative procedure.


(c) Members of the Conference, except the Chairman, are not entitled to pay for service. Members appointed from outside the Federal Government are entitled to travel expenses, including per diem instead of subsistence, as authorized by section 5703 of this title for individuals serving without pay.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 389, §573; Pub. L. 99–470, §1, Oct. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 1198; renumbered §593 and amended Pub. L. 102–354, §2(2), (3), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1045b. Aug. 30, 1964, Pub. L. 88–499, §4, 78 Stat. 616.

In subsection (a), the words “There is hereby established” are omitted as executed. The words “hereinafter referred to as the ‘Conference’ ” are omitted as unnecessary as the title “Administrative Conference of the United States” is fully set out the first time it is used in each section of this chapter.

In subsection (b)(4), the words “referred to in section 575(b) of this title” are inserted for clarity.

In subsection (c), the words “by section 5703 of this title” are substituted for “by law (5 U.S.C. 73b–2)” to reflect the codification of that section in title 5.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Prior Provisions

A prior section 593 was renumbered section 583 of this title.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354, §2(2), renumbered section 573 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (b)(4). Pub. L. 102–354, §2(3), substituted “section 595(b)” for “section 575(b)”.

1986—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 99–470, §1(a)(1), substituted “101” for “91”.

Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 99–470, §1(a)(2), substituted “40” for “36”.


Termination of Administrative Conference of United States

For termination of Administrative Conference of United States, see note set out preceding section 591 of this title.


Development of Administrative Conference

The Administrative Conference of the United States, established as a permanent body by the Administrative Conference Act, Pub. L. 88–499, Aug. 30, 1964, 78 Stat. 615, was preceded by two temporary Conferences. The first was called by President Eisenhower in 1953 and adopted a final report which was transmitted to the President who acknowledged receipt of it on March 3, 1955. The second was established by President Kennedy by Executive Order No. 10934, Apr. 14, 1961, 26 F.R. 3233, which, by its terms, called for a final report to the President by December 31, 1962. The final report recommended a continuing Conference consisting of both government personnel and outside experts.


§594. Powers and duties of the Conference

To carry out the purposes of this subchapter, the Administrative Conference of the United States may—

(1) study the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of the administrative procedure used by administrative agencies in carrying out administrative programs, and make recommendations to administrative agencies, collectively or individually, and to the President, Congress, or the Judicial Conference of the United States, in connection therewith, as it considers appropriate;

(2) arrange for interchange among administrative agencies of information potentially useful in improving administrative procedure;

(3) collect information and statistics from administrative agencies and publish such reports as it considers useful for evaluating and improving administrative procedure;

(4) enter into arrangements with any administrative agency or major organizational unit within an administrative agency pursuant to which the Conference performs any of the functions described in this section; and

(5) provide assistance in response to requests relating to the improvement of administrative procedure in foreign countries, subject to the concurrence of the Secretary of State, the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, or the Director of the United States Information Agency, as appropriate, except that—

(A) such assistance shall be limited to the analysis of issues relating to administrative procedure, the provision of training of foreign officials in administrative procedure, and the design or improvement of administrative procedure, where the expertise of members of the Conference is indicated; and

(B) such assistance may only be undertaken on a fully reimbursable basis, including all direct and indirect administrative costs.


Payment for services provided by the Conference pursuant to paragraph (4) shall be credited to the operating account for the Conference and shall remain available until expended.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 390, §574; Pub. L. 101–422, §2, Oct. 12, 1990, 104 Stat. 910; renumbered §594, Pub. L. 102–354, §2(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944; Pub. L. 102–403, Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1968; Pub. L. 108–401, §2(b)(1), Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2255.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1045c. Aug. 30, 1964, Pub. L. 88–499, §5, 78 Stat. 616.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Amendments

2004—Pub. L. 108–401 substituted “purposes” for “purpose” in introductory provisions.

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 574 of this title as this section.

Par. (4). Pub. L. 102–403 amended par. (4) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (4) read as follows: “enter into arrangements with any administrative agency or major organizational unit within an administrative agency pursuant to which the Conference performs any of the functions described in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3).”

Par. (5). Pub. L. 102–403 which directed addition of par. (5) at end of section, was executed by adding par. (5) after par. (4) and before concluding provisions, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

1990—Pub. L. 101–422 added par. (4) and concluding provisions.


Termination of Administrative Conference of United States

For termination of Administrative Conference of United States, see note set out preceding section 591 of this title.


Transfer of Functions

United States Information Agency (other than Broadcasting Board of Governors and International Broadcasting Bureau) abolished and functions transferred to Secretary of State, see sections 6531 and 6532 of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse.


§595. Organization of the Conference

(a) The membership of the Administrative Conference of the United States meeting in plenary session constitutes the Assembly of the Conference. The Assembly has ultimate authority over all activities of the Conference. Specifically, it has the power to—

(1) adopt such recommendations as it considers appropriate for improving administrative procedure. A member who disagrees with a recommendation adopted by the Assembly is entitled to enter a dissenting opinion and an alternate proposal in the record of the Conference proceedings, and the opinion and proposal so entered shall accompany the Conference recommendation in a publication or distribution thereof; and

(2) adopt bylaws and regulations not inconsistent with this subchapter for carrying out the functions of the Conference, including the creation of such committees as it considers necessary for the conduct of studies and the development of recommendations for consideration by the Assembly.


(b) The Conference includes a Council composed of the Chairman of the Conference, who is Chairman of the Council, and 10 other members appointed by the President, of whom not more than one-half shall be employees of Federal regulatory agencies or Executive departments. The President may designate a member of the Council as Vice Chairman. During the absence or incapacity of the Chairman, or when that office is vacant, the Vice Chairman shall serve as Chairman. The term of each member, except the Chairman, is 3 years. When the term of a member ends, he may continue to serve until a successor is appointed. However, the service of any member ends when a change in his employment status would make him ineligible for Council membership under the conditions of his original appointment. The Council has the power to—

(1) determine the time and place of plenary sessions of the Conference and the agenda for the sessions. The Council shall call at least one plenary session each year;

(2) propose bylaws and regulations, including rules of procedure and committee organization, for adoption by the Assembly;

(3) make recommendations to the Conference or its committees on a subject germane to the purpose of the Conference;

(4) receive and consider reports and recommendations of committees of the Conference and send them to members of the Conference with the views and recommendations of the Council;

(5) designate a member of the Council to preside at meetings of the Council in the absence or incapacity of the Chairman and Vice Chairman;

(6) designate such additional officers of the Conference as it considers desirable;

(7) approve or revise the budgetary proposals of the Chairman; and

(8) exercise such other powers as may be delegated to it by the Assembly.


(c) The Chairman is the chief executive of the Conference. In that capacity he has the power to—

(1) make inquiries into matters he considers important for Conference consideration, including matters proposed by individuals inside or outside the Federal Government;

(2) be the official spokesman for the Conference in relations with the several branches and agencies of the Federal Government and with interested organizations and individuals outside the Government, including responsibility for encouraging Federal agencies to carry out the recommendations of the Conference;

(3) request agency heads to provide information needed by the Conference, which information shall be supplied to the extent permitted by law;

(4) recommend to the Council appropriate subjects for action by the Conference;

(5) appoint, with the approval of the Council, members of committees authorized by the bylaws and regulations of the Conference;

(6) prepare, for approval of the Council, estimates of the budgetary requirements of the Conference;

(7) appoint and fix the pay of employees, define their duties and responsibilities, and direct and supervise their activities;

(8) rent office space in the District of Columbia;

(9) provide necessary services for the Assembly, the Council, and the committees of the Conference;

(10) organize and direct studies ordered by the Assembly or the Council, to contract for the performance of such studies with any public or private persons, firm, association, corporation, or institution under title III of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended (41 U.S.C. 251–260), and to use from time to time, as appropriate, experts and consultants who may be employed in accordance with section 3109 of this title at rates not in excess of the maximum rate of pay for grade GS–15 as provided in section 5332 of this title;

(11) utilize, with their consent, the services and facilities of Federal agencies and of State and private agencies and instrumentalities with or without reimbursement;

(12) accept, hold, administer, and utilize gifts, devises, and bequests of property, both real and personal, for the purpose of aiding and facilitating the work of the Conference. Gifts and bequests of money and proceeds from sales of other property received as gifts, devises, or bequests shall be deposited in the Treasury and shall be disbursed upon the order of the Chairman. Property accepted pursuant to this section, and the proceeds thereof, shall be used as nearly as possible in accordance with the terms of the gifts, devises, or bequests. For purposes of Federal income, estate, or gift taxes, property accepted under this section shall be considered as a gift, devise, or bequest to the United States;

(13) accept voluntary and uncompensated services, notwithstanding the provisions of section 1342 of title 31;

(14) on request of the head of an agency, furnish assistance and advice on matters of administrative procedure;

(15) exercise such additional authority as the Council or Assembly delegates to him; and

(16) request any administrative agency to notify the Chairman of its intent to enter into any contract with any person outside the agency to study the efficiency, adequacy, or fairness of an agency proceeding (as defined in section 551(12) of this title).


The Chairman shall preside at meetings of the Council and at each plenary session of the Conference, to which he shall make a full report concerning the affairs of the Conference since the last preceding plenary session. The Chairman, on behalf of the Conference, shall transmit to the President and Congress an annual report and such interim reports as he considers desirable.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 390, §575; Pub. L. 92–526, §1, Oct. 21, 1972, 86 Stat. 1048; Pub. L. 97–258, §3(a)(1), Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1062; Pub. L. 101–422, §3, Oct. 12, 1990, 104 Stat. 910; renumbered §595, Pub. L. 102–354, §2(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1045d. Aug. 30, 1964, Pub. L. 88–499, §6, 78 Stat. 617.

In subsection (b), the words “except that the Council members initially appointed shall serve for one, two, or three years, as designated by the President” are omitted as executed, existing rights being preserved by technical section 8.

In subsection (b)(1), the words “the sessions” are substituted for “such meetings” for clarity as elsewhere the word “sessions” refers to sessions of the Conference and “meetings” refers to meetings of the Council.

In subsection (c)(7), the words “subject to the civil service and classification laws” are omitted as unnecessary inasmuch as appointments in the executive branch are made subject to the civil service laws and pay is fixed under classification laws unless specifically excepted. The words “and fix the pay of” are added for clarity.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


References in Text

The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, referred to in subsec. (c)(10), is act June 30, 1949, ch. 288, 63 Stat. 377. Title III of the Act was classified generally to subchapter IV (§251 et seq.) of chapter 4 of former Title 41, Public Contracts, and was substantially repealed and restated in division C (§3101 et seq.) of subtitle I of Title 41, Public Contracts, by Pub. L. 111–350, §§3, 7(b), Jan. 4, 2011, 124 Stat. 3677, 3855. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title of 1949 Act note set out under section 101 of Title 41 and Tables. For disposition of sections of former Title 41, see Disposition Table preceding section 101 of Title 41.


Amendments

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 575 of this title as this section.

1990—Subsec. (c)(16). Pub. L. 101–422 added par. (16).

1982—Subsec. (c)(13). Pub. L. 97–258 substituted “section 1342 of title 31” for “section 3679(b) of the Revised Statutes (31 U.S.C. 665(b))”.

1972—Subsec. (c)(10). Pub. L. 92–526, §1(a), inserted provisions authorizing contracts for the performance of such studies with any public or private persons, etc., under title III of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended, and substituted provisions authorizing the payment of experts and consultants in accordance with rates not in excess of the maximum rate of pay for grade GS–15 as provided in section 5332 of this title, for provisions authorizing the payment of such individuals at rates not in excess of $100 a day.

Subsec. (c)(11) to (15). Pub. L. 92–526, §1(b), added pars. (11) to (13) and redesignated former pars. (11) and (12) as (14) and (15), respectively.


Termination of Administrative Conference of United States

For termination of Administrative Conference of United States, see note set out preceding section 591 of this title.


§596. Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subchapter not more than $3,200,000 for fiscal year 2009, $3,200,000 for fiscal year 2010, and $3,200,000 for fiscal year 2011. Of any amounts appropriated under this section, not more than $2,500 may be made available in each fiscal year for official representation and entertainment expenses for foreign dignitaries.

(Pub. L. 89–554, Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 391, §576; Pub. L. 91–164, Dec. 24, 1969, 83 Stat. 446; Pub. L. 92–526, §2, Oct. 21, 1972, 86 Stat. 1048; Pub. L. 95–293, §1(a), June 13, 1978, 92 Stat. 317; Pub. L. 97–330, Oct. 15, 1982, 96 Stat. 1618; Pub. L. 99–470, §2(a), Oct. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 1198; Pub. L. 101–422, §1, Oct. 12, 1990, 104 Stat. 910; renumbered §596, Pub. L. 102–354, §2(2), Aug. 26, 1992, 106 Stat. 944; Pub. L. 108–401, §3, Oct. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2255; Pub. L. 110–290, §2, July 30, 2008, 122 Stat. 2914.)


Historical and Revision Notes
Derivation U.S. Code Revised Statutes and Statutes at Large
5 U.S.C. 1045e. Aug. 30, 1964, Pub. L. 88–499, §7, 78 Stat. 618.

The word “hereby” is omitted as unnecessary.

Standard changes are made to conform with the definitions applicable and the style of this title as outlined in the preface to the report.


Amendments

2008—Pub. L. 110–290 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subchapter not more than $3,000,000 for fiscal year 2005, $3,100,000 for fiscal year 2006, and $3,200,000 for fiscal year 2007. Of any amounts appropriated under this section, not more than $2,500 may be made available in each fiscal year for official representation and entertainment expenses for foreign dignitaries.”

2004—Pub. L. 108–401 reenacted section catchline without change and amended text generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the purposes of this subchapter not more than $2,000,000 for fiscal year 1990, $2,100,000 for fiscal year 1991, $2,200,000 for fiscal year 1992, $2,300,000 for fiscal year 1993, and $2,400,000 for fiscal year 1994. Of any amounts appropriated under this section, not more than $1,500 may be made available in each fiscal year for official representation and entertainment expenses for foreign dignitaries.”

1992—Pub. L. 102–354 renumbered section 576 of this title as this section.

1990—Pub. L. 101–422 amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section read as follows: “There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the purposes of this subchapter not more than $1,600,000 for fiscal year 1986 and not more than $2,000,000 for each fiscal year thereafter up to and including fiscal year 1990. Of any amounts appropriated under this section, not more than $1,000 may be made available in each fiscal year for official reception and entertainment expenses for foreign dignitaries.”

1986—Pub. L. 99–470 substituted “Authorization of appropriations” for “Appropriations” in section catchline and amended text generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the purposes of this subchapter sums not to exceed $2,300,000 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1982, and not to exceed $2,300,000 for each fiscal year thereafter up to and including the fiscal year ending September 30, 1986.”

1982—Pub. L. 97–330 substituted provisions authorizing appropriations of not to exceed $2,300,000 for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1982, and not to exceed $2,300,000 for each fiscal year thereafter up to and including fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1986, for provisions that had authorized appropriations of not to exceed $1,700,000 for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1979, $2,000,000 for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1980, $2,300,000 for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1981, and $2,300,000 for fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1982.

1978—Pub. L. 95–293 substituted provisions authorizing appropriations for fiscal years ending Sept. 30, 1979, Sept. 30, 1980, Sept. 30, 1981, and Sept. 30, 1982, of $1,700,000, $2,000,000, $2,300,000, and $2,300,000, respectively, for provisions authorizing appropriations for fiscal years ending June 30, 1974, June 30, 1975, June 30, 1976, June 30, 1977, and June 30, 1978, of $760,000, $805,000, $850,000, $900,000, and $950,000, respectively, and provisions authorizing for each fiscal year thereafter such sums as may be necessary.

1972—Pub. L. 92–526 substituted provisions authorizing to be appropriated necessary sums not in excess of $760,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 1974, $805,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 1975, $850,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 1976, $900,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 1977, and $950,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 1978, and each fiscal year thereafter, for provisions authorizing to be appropriated necessary sums, not in excess of $450,000 per annum.

1969—Pub. L. 91–164 substituted “$450,000 per annum” for “$250,000”.


Effective Date of 1978 Amendment

Section 1(b) of Pub. L. 95–293 provided that: “The amendment made by subsection (a) (amending this section) shall take effect October 1, 1977.”


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