Handbook for Gaining OMB Information
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You may gain access to OMB information in a number of ways, through --

This Handbook explains how you can obtain OMB information.

Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act.

The Freedom of Information Act.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which is found in 5 U.S.C 552, is a law that gives a person the right to obtain Federal agency records unless the records (or parts of the records) are protected from disclosure by any of the nine exemptions contained in the law. The FOIA was recently amended by the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 ("E-FOIA Amendments").

Regulations that set forth procedures for requesting OMB records under the FOIA are published at 5 CFR Part 1303. The CFR can be found in all law libraries and Federal depositary libraries. You may also obtain a copy from OMB at the address listed below or at OMB's home page (see below). These regulations have been amended to incorporate changes adopted by the E-FOIA Amendments.

OMB makes available in its Public Reading Room and in the Regulatory/Paperwork Docket Library information pertaining to matters issued, adopted, or promulgated by OMB; these are commonly known as "reading room materials." These materials include the Federal Budget, OMB Circulars, selected OMB Bulletins, regulations and information collections reviewed by OMB, other policies and management documents, and OMB's Annual FOIA Report. Many of these documents are also available through the Publications Office and OMB's Internet Home Page (see below).

In addition to gaining access to reading room materials, requesters may also file FOIA requests with OMB to obtain records. It is important to understand that there is no central office in the government which processes FOIA requests for all agencies; each Federal agency responds to FOIA requests for records in its own files. Thus, the public may submit FOIA requests to OMB to obtain records that are in OMB's files. Please be aware the FOIA does not require agencies to do research, to analyze data, to answer written questions, or to create records in order to respond to a request.

Individuals wishing to file a FOIA request must address their request in writing to the FOIA Officer, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW, Room 6025, Washington, DC 20503, phone (202) 395-5715. Requests for information should be as specific as possible. Requesters should consult OMB's FOIA regulations, which outline the procedures governing the FOIA request process; a brief summary of that process follows.

Upon receipt of a FOIA request, the FOIA Officer will determine within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays) after the receipt of such request whether it is appropriate to grant the request. (The time period for providing a response may be extended under the FOIA; in addition, in certain circumstances, requesters may receive an "expedited" response.) OMB will provide a written response to the FOIA request; if the request is denied in whole or in part, OMB will notify the requester of the denial, and of the requester's right to file an appeal within OMB (the appeal should be sent to the address above). If OMB denies an appeal in whole or in part, the requester may seek judicial review of that denial.

Fees for FOIA Requests.

Agencies may charge fees for responding to FOIA requests. The FOIA divides requesters into four categories for fees:
  1. Commercial use requesters. When OMB receives a request for documents for commercial use, it will assess charges that recover the full direct cost of searching for, reviewing for release, and duplicating the records sought.
  2. Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requests. OMB shall provide documents to requesters in this category for the cost of reproduction alone, excluding charges for the first 100 pages.
  3. Representatives of the news media. OMB shall provide documents to requesters in this category for the cost of reproduction alone, excluding charges for the first 100 pages.
  4. All other requesters. OMB shall charge requesters who do not fit into any of the categories above fees that recover the full reasonable direct cost of searching for and reproducing records that are responsive to the request, except that the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search time shall be furnished without charge.

OMB may waive fees, in whole or in part, 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." In certain circumstances, OMB may request advance payment of fees.

Privacy Act.

Information may also be requested from OMB under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a. Privacy Act requests for information in OMB's files must be in writing, and sent to the same address as FOIA requests (above). Compared to some other agencies, OMB has relatively few records that are subject to the Privacy Act, and historically has received only a small number of Privacy Act requests. OMB's Privacy Act regulations are published at 5 CFR Part 1302.

OMB's Internet Home Page.

You may access the OMB home page at http:/www.whitehouse.gov/OMB. The home page contains information on OMB's mission, a description of OMB's organization structure, current recruiting information, and employment opportunities. The section under FOIA contains OMB's FOIA regulations, this handbook, OMB's FOIA Annual Reports for 1996, 1997, 1998 and , and a link to OMB's Government Information Locator System (GILS), which is an index of OMB's major information systems and record locator systems.

In addition, the home page provides access to the latest copy of the President's Federal Budget, as well as other OMB documents. Electronic versions of OMB documents are intended to provide broad public access to the text of OMB directives and other key information. Documents available over the Internet include the following:
OMB Circulars. These are instructions or information issued by OMB to Federal agencies that is expected to have a continuing effect of two years or more. The Circulars are presented by numerical sequence as well as by major category.

Selected OMB Bulletins. These bulletins provide guidance to Federal agencies of a more transitory nature that would normally expire after one or two years.

Selected OMB Memoranda. A memorandum to heads of executive departments and establishments is used to announce new policy or to remind agencies of existing policies.

Regulations and Paperwork under OMB review. This report is updated daily and lists regulation reviews and paperwork reviews currently pending at OMB or that were completed in the last 30 days. These regulation and paperwork reviews are done under the Executive Order 12866, "Regulatory Planning and Review" and the "Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995" (44 U.S.C. 3502 et seq.).

Financial Management policies and Grants Management circulars and related documents.

Federal Register submissions are copies of proposed and final rules OMB has submitted to the Federal Register.

OMB Testimony.

Statements of Administration Policy on Non-Appropriations and Appropriation Bills.

Executive Office of the President's (EOP) Publications Office.

You may write or call this office and request copies of OMB Circulars, Bulletins and Memoranda. They will be sent to you via the mail. The EOP Publications Office is located at:

725 17th Street, NW
Room 2200
Washington, DC 20503
(202) 395-7332

OMB's Public Reading Room and Regulatory/Paperwork Docket Library.

A public reading area is located in the Executive Office of the President Library, Room G-102, New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503, phone (202) 395-5715.

OMB also maintains the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Docket Library, Room 10102, New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503, phone (202) 395-6880. The Docket Library contains records related to information collections sponsored by the Federal government and reviewed by OIRA under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The Docket Library also maintains records related to proposed Federal agency regulatory actions reviewed by OIRA under Executive Order 12866, "Regulatory Planning and Review." Telephone logs and materials from meetings with the public attended by the OIRA Administrator are also available in the Docket Library.

Persons desiring to visit the public reading area or OIRA Docket Library must write or telephone ahead to make an appointment. Security in the New Executive Office Building prevents visitors from entering the building without an appointment.

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