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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
Title 16: Commercial Practices
§4.9 The public record.
(a) General. (1) Materials on the public record of the Commission are available for public inspection and copying either routinely or upon request.
(2) Materials that are exempt from mandatory public disclosure, or are otherwise not available from the Commission's public record, may be made available for inspection and copying only upon request under the procedures set forth in §4.11 of this part, or as provided in §§4.10 (d) through (g), 4.13, and 4.15(b)(3) of this part, or by the Commission.
(3) Location. All of the public records of the Commission are available for inspection at the principal office of the Commission on each business day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and copies of some of those records are available at the regional offices on each business day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Copies of records that the Commission is required to make available to the public electronically, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), may be obtained in that format from the Commission's Web site on the Internet, http://www.ftc.gov/foia/readingroom.shtm.
(4) Copying of public records—(i) Procedures. Reasonable facilities for copying public records are provided at each office of the Commission. Subject to appropriate limitations and the availability of facilities, any person may copy public records available for inspection at each of those offices. Further, the agency will provide copies to any person upon request. Written requests for copies of public records shall be addressed to the Supervisor, Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580, and shall specify as clearly and accurately as reasonably possible the records desired. For records that cannot be specified with complete clarity and particularity, requesters shall provide descriptions sufficient to enable qualified Commission personnel to locate the records sought. In any instance, the Commission, the Supervisor of the Consumer Response Center, the General Counsel, the deciding official (as designated by the General Counsel), or the official in charge of each office may prohibit the use of Commission facilities to produce more than one copy of any public record, and may refuse to permit the use of such facilities for copying records that have been published or are publicly available at places other than the offices of the Commission.
(ii) Costs; agreement to pay costs. Requesters will be charged search and duplication costs prescribed by Rule 4.8 for requests under this section. All requests shall include a statement of the information needed to determine fees, as provided by §4.8(c), and an agreement to pay fees (or a statement that the requester will not pay fees if a fee waiver is denied), as provided by §4.8(d). Requests may also include an application for a fee waiver, as provided by §4.8(e). Advance payment may be required, as provided by §4.8(h).
(iii) Records for sale at another government agency. If requested materials are available for sale at another government agency, the requester will not be provided with copies of the materials but will be advised to obtain them from the selling agency. The U.S. Government Printing Office (“GPO”), the official bookstore for most U.S. Government publications, can be contacted at (202) 512-1800 or toll-free at (866) 512-1800, and at ContactCenter@gpo.gov. The GPO's online store can be accessed at http://bookstore.gpo.gov and mail orders should be directed to U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 979050, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000.
(b) Categories. Except to the extent material is confidential, as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, the public record of the Commission includes, but is not necessarily limited to:
(1) Commission Organization and Procedures (16 CFR part 0 and §§4.14 through 4.15, 4.17). (i) A current index of opinions, orders, statements of policy and interpretations, administrative staff manuals, general instructions and other public records of the Commission;
(ii) A current record of the final votes of each member of the Commission in all matters of public record, including matters of public record decided by notational voting;
(iii) Descriptions of the Commission's organization, including descriptions of where, from whom, and how the public may secure information, submit documents or requests, and obtain copies of orders, decisions and other materials;
(iv) Statements of the Commission's general procedures and policies and interpretations, its nonadjudicative procedures, its rules of practice for adjudicative proceedings, and its miscellaneous rules, including descriptions of the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures available, and
(v) Reprints of the principal laws under which the Commission exercises enforcement or administrative responsibilities.
(2) Industry Guidance (16 CFR 1.1-1.6). (i) Any advice, advisory opinion or response given and required to be made public under §§1.4 and 2.41 (d) or (f) of this chapter (whether by the Commission or the staff), together with a statement of supporting reasons;
(ii) Industry guides, digests of advisory opinions and compliance advice believed to be of interest to the public generally and other administrative interpretations;
(iii) Transcripts of hearings in all industry guide proceedings, as well as written statements filed with or forwarded to the Commission in connection with these proceedings; and
(iv) Petitions filed with the Secretary of the Commission for the promulgation or issuance, amendment, or repeal of industry guides.
(3) Rulemaking (16 CFR 1.7 through 1.26). (i) Petitions filed with the Secretary of the Commission for the promulgation or issuance, amendment, or repeal of rules or regulations within the scope of §§1.7 and 1.21 of this chapter, and petitions for exemptions;
(ii) Notices and advance notices of proposed rulemaking and rules and orders issued in rulemaking proceedings; and
(iii) Transcripts of hearings of all rulemaking proceedings, all other materials that are distributed to the public during these proceedings, and written statements filed with or forwarded to the Commission in connection with these proceedings.
(4) Investigations. (i) Petitions to limit or quash compulsory process and the rulings thereon; and
(ii) Closing letters in initial phase and full phase investigations.
(5) Adjudicative proceedings, stay applications, requests to reopen, and litigated orders. (16 CFR 2.51, 3.1 through 3.24, 3.31 through 3.56, 3.71 through 3.72, 4.7)—Except for transcripts of matters heard in camera pursuant to §3.45 and material filed in camera pursuant to §§3.22, 3.24, 3.45, 3.46, 3.51 and 3.52,
(i) The versions of pleadings and transcripts of prehearing conferences to the extent made available under §3.21(e), motions, certifications, orders, and the transcripts of hearings (including public conferences), testimony, oral arguments, and other material made a part thereof, and exhibits and material received in evidence or made a part of the public record in adjudicative proceedings;
(ii) Initial decisions of administrative law judges;
(iii) Orders and opinions in interlocutory matters;
(iv) Final orders and opinions in adjudications, and rulings on stay applications, including separate statements of Commissioners;
(v) Petitions for reconsideration, and answers thereto, filed pursuant to §3.55;
(vi) Applications for stay, answers thereto, and replies, filed pursuant to §3.56;
(vii) Petitions, applications, pleadings, briefs, and other records filed by the Commission with the courts in connection with adjudicative, injunctive, enforcement, compliance, and condemnation proceedings, and in connection with judicial review of Commission actions, and opinions and orders of the courts in disposition thereof;
(viii) Records of ex parte communications in adjudicative proceedings and stay applications;
(ix) Petitions to reopen proceedings and orders to determine whether orders should be altered, modified, or set aside in accordance with §2.51; and
(x) Decisions reopening proceedings, and orders to show cause under §3.72.
(6) Consent agreements (16 CFR 2.31 through 2.34, 3.25). (i) Agreements containing orders, after acceptance by the Commission pursuant to §§2.34 and 3.25(f) of this chapter;
(ii) Comments and other materials filed or placed on the public record under §§2.34 and 3.25(f) concerning proposed consent agreements and related orders; and
(iii) Decisions and orders issued and served under §§2.34 and 3.25(f), including separate statements of Commissioners.
(7) Compliance/enforcement (16 CFR 2.33, 2.41). (i) Reports of compliance filed pursuant to the rules in this chapter or pursuant to a provision in a Commission order and supplemental materials filed in connection with these reports, except for reports of compliance, and supplemental materials filed in connection with Commission orders requiring divestitures or establishment of business enterprises of facilities, which are confidential until the last divestiture or establishment of a business enterprise or facility, as required by a particular order, has been finally approved by the Commission, and staff letters to respondents advising them that their compliance reports do not warrant any further action. At the time each such report is submitted the filing party may request confidential treatment in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section and the General Counsel or the General Counsel's designee will pass upon such request in accordance with that paragraph;
(ii) Materials required to be made public under 16 CFR 2.41(f) in connection with applications for approval of proposed divestitures, acquisitions or similar transactions subject to Commission review under outstanding orders.
(8) Access to documents and meetings (16 CFR 4.8, 4.11, 4.13, 4.15). (i) Letters requesting access to Commission records pursuant to §4.11(a) of this chapter and the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, and letters granting or denying such requests (not including access requests and answers thereto from the Congress or other government agencies);
(ii) Announcements of Commission meetings as required under the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b, including records of the votes to close such meetings;
(iii) Summaries or other explanatory materials relating to matters to be considered at open meetings made available pursuant to §4.15(b)(3)
(iv) Commission minutes of open meetings, and, to the extent they are not exempt from mandatory public disclosure under the Sunshine Act or the Freedom of Information Act, portions of minutes or transcripts of closed meetings; and
(v) A guide for requesting records or information from the Commission, including an index of all major information systems, a description of major information and record locator systems maintained by the Commission, and a handbook for obtaining various types and categories of public information.
(9) Standards of conduct (16 CFR 5.5 through 5.6, 5.10 through 5.26, 5.31, 5.57 through 5.68). (i) Memoranda to staff elaborating or clarifying standards described in administrative staff manuals and part 5 of this subchapter.
(10) Miscellaneous (press releases, clearance requests, reports filed by or with the Commission, continuing guaranties, registered identification numbers). (i) Releases by the Commission's Office of Public Affairs supplying information concerning the activities of the Commission;
(ii) Applications under §4.1(b)(2) of this chapter for clearance or authorization to appear or participate in a proceeding or investigation and of the Commission's responses thereto;
(iii) Continuing guaranties filed under the Wool, Fur, and Textile Acts;
(iv) Published reports by the staff or by the Commission on economic surveys and investigations of general interest;
(v) Filings by the Commission or by the staff in connection with proceedings before other federal agencies or state or local government bodies;
(vi) Registration statements and annual reports filed with the Commission by export trade associations, and bulletins, pamphlets, and reports with respect to such associations released by the Commission;
(vii) The identities of holders of registered identification numbers issued by the Commission pursuant to §1.32 of this chapter;
(viii) The Commission's annual report submitted after the end of each fiscal year, summarizing its work during the year (available for inspection at each of the offices of the Commission with copies obtainable from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402) and any other annual reports made to Congress on activities of the Commission as required by law;
(ix) Records, as determined by the General Counsel or his or her designee, that have been released in response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, and which, because of the nature of the subject matter, have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records, except where some or all of those records would be exempt from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552 if requested by another party;
(x) A general index of the records referred to under paragraph (b)(10)(ix) of this section;
(xi) Grants of early termination of waiting periods published in accordance with the Hart-Scott-Rodino premerger notification provisions of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. 18a(b)(2);
(xii) Reports on appliance energy consumption or efficiency filed with the Commission pursuant to §305.8 of this chapter;
(xiii) Annual filings by professional boxing sanctioning organizations as required by the Muhammed Ali Boxing Reform Act, 15 U.S.C. 6301 note, 6307a-6307h;
(xiv) All transcripts or other materials that are distributed by staff at public workshops;
(xv) Other documents that the Commission has determined to place on the public record; and
(xvi) Every amendment, revision, substitute, or repeal of any of the foregoing items listed in paragraphs (b)(1) through (10) of this section.
(c) Confidentiality and in camera material. (1) Persons submitting material to the Commission described in this section may designate that material or portions of it confidential and request that it be withheld from the public record. All requests for confidential treatment shall be supported by a showing of justification in light of applicable statutes, rules, orders of the Commission or its administrative law judges, orders of the courts, or other relevant authority. The General Counsel or the General Counsel's designee will act upon such request with due regard for legal constraints and the public interest. No such material or portions of material (including documents generated by the Commission or its staff containing or reflecting such material or portions of material) will be placed on the public record until the General Counsel or the General Counsel's designee has ruled on the request for confidential treatment and provided any prior notice to the submitter required by law.
(2) Motions seeking in camera treatment of material submitted in connection with a proceeding under part 3 of these rules, except stay applications under §3.56, shall be filed with the Administrative Law Judge who is presiding over the proceeding. Requests for confidential treatment of material submitted in connection with a stay application shall be made in accordance with §4.9(c)(1).
(3) To the extent that any material or portions of material otherwise falling within paragraph (b) of this section contain information that is not required to be made public under §4.10 of this part, the General Counsel or the General Counsel's designee may determine, with due regard for legal constraints and the public interest, to withhold such materials from the public record.
[50 FR 50779, Dec. 12, 1985, as amended at 57 FR 10805, Mar. 31, 1992; 59 FR 34970, July 8, 1994; 60 FR 37749, July 21, 1995; 63 FR 18820, Apr. 16, 1998; 63 FR 32977, June 17, 1998; 63 FR 45647, Aug. 26, 1998; 64 FR 46269, Aug. 25, 1999; 66 FR 17633, Apr. 3, 2001; 66 FR 64144, Dec. 12, 2001; 77 FR 59311, Sept. 27, 2012; 78 FR 13474, Feb. 28, 2013]