SEC Classifies Us as a “Commercial” Requester; We have to Mail in an Appeal

On 10/11/2012 the SEC emailed us a PDF of a letter. The letter said that we they had categorized us as a “commercial” requester with regards to our fee status and letting us know of our right to appeal the determination. Commercial requesters are charged more fees than any of the other categories of requesters. As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, we would not be using any responsive records for our commercial benefit, and should be categorized as an “other” requester. After emailing the FOIA processor to ask where we should send our appeal (the letter only indicated that appeals could be made to the General Counsel), we were told that the appeal must be sent in using the mail.

See the SEC’s fee letter here: (No. 13-00420-FOIA) Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records


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One thought on “SEC Classifies Us as a “Commercial” Requester; We have to Mail in an Appeal

  1. Kel McClanahan October 21, 2012 at 8:07 am Reply

    Some agencies do this, and it’s annoying to no end, especially when they get righteously indignant when you call them on it. I actually missed an appeal deadline for a Navy request because I had emailed the office several times to get a fax number or email address to send the appeal to (not wanting to trust it to the USPS) and never got a response, and even though I spelled this out in my appeal letter, the Navy JAG Office denied the appeal as untimely, stating “Under the FOIA an agency is not required to provide you with a fax number to submit your appeal. An agency is only required to provide instructions on where to file your appeal and the 60 day requirement by law to file such appeal.” (As an aside, I did in fact fax the appeal in after digging up the appropriate fax number from deep within the Navy’s website, meaning that telling me what it was would have been as easy for the FOIA analyst as checking his phone book.)

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