Freedom of Information Act Handbook

Table of Contents:

Introduction

On October 2, 1996, the President signed the “Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996” (Public Law 104-231) into law. P.L. 104-231, which amends the Freedom of Information Act (Title 5 of the United States Code, Section 552), requires each agency to make required records created on or after November 1, 1996, available for inspection and copying electronically within one year of their creation.

The requestor determines the format of the requested records, providing that the requested format is easily reproducible. The agency must make a reasonable effort to comply with the request.

P.L. 104-231 also requires each agency to make reference material or a guide for requesting records or information available to the public. The United States Mint developed this Freedom of Information Act Handbook per the requirements of this statute.

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Policy

United States Mint policy requires that all FOIA requests:

  • Be in writing
  • State that it is made pursuant to the FOIA
  • Include information that enables the processing office to determine the requestor’s fee category
  • Clearly state the requested records
  • Include an acknowledgement that the requester will pay fees for search, duplication or review, as appropriate
  • Be addressed to:
    Disclosure Officer, United States Mint
    801 9th Street, N.W., 8th Floor
    Washington, D.C. 20220

The Mint will make a determination regarding the request within twenty (20) business days of receipt. We will disclose records unless the requested records are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA (see “Exemptions for Withholding Records Under the FOIA“).

Expedited processing will be made available when a requestor demonstrates a “compelling need” (e.g., immediate threat to the life or physical safety of an individual, or other urgency). The Disclosure Officer will determine whether to grant the request for expedited processing and will notify the requestor within ten (10) calendar days of receipt.

Certain records are available electronically, without a written FOIA request. To view frequently requested materials, visit the FOIA Reading Room.

Mint Directive MD 7B-7 provides the regulations and procedures, in detail, used for implementing the requirements of the FOIA by the United States Mint. Mint Directive MD 7B-7 may be obtained by contacting the Disclosure Officer, United States Mint, Washington, D.C. 20220 or via the Mint’s Electronic Reading Room.

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Fees

A FOIA requester will be charged a fee of $25 or more assessed for applicable search (i.e., looking for responsive information), review (i.e., processing the information), and duplication services (i.e., copying releasable information). The Mint reserves the right to request payment of fees before releasing records.

The fee categories in accordance with 31 CFR 1.7 are:

Commercial Use

Requests made to further the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester. Fees are charged in this category for search, review, and duplication.

Educational Institution/Non-commercial Scientific Institution

Educational institutions operating scholarly research programs or non-commercial institutions conducting scientific research not intended to promote any particular product or industry. Fees in this category are only charged for duplication and the first 100 pages are free.

Representatives of the News Media/Freelancers

Any person gathering news for an entity organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. This includes freelance journalists who, though not actually employed by the media, expect future media publication. Fees are charged for duplication only and the first 100 pages are free.

“All Other” Requesters

Fees in this category are charged for search and duplication, including two hours of search time and the first 100 pages are free.

Fees may be waived if disclosing the information is in the public’s interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operation or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Fee waivers/reductions must be requested in writing.

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Exemptions for Withholding Records under FOIA

FOIA’s basic concept is providing maximum allowable disclosure of agency records to the requestor. However, there are records deemed inappropriate for disclosure due to a certain harm which disclosure may cause.

The nine FOIA exemptions pursuant to which information may be exempt from disclosure are:

(b)(1) — (Classified Information)

National defense or foreign policy matter kept secret by Executive Order.

(b)(2) — (Internal Administrative Matters)

Matters related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.

(b)(3) — (Other Federal Statutes)

Matters specifically exempted from disclosure by some other statute.

(b)(4) — (Commercial/Financial)

Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged or confidential.

(b)(5) — (Inter-agency/Intra-agency)

Inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters.

(b)(6) — (Personal Privacy)

Personnel, medical, or similar files which, if disclosed, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

(b)(7) — (Law Enforcement Information)

Records/information compiled for law enforcement purposes.

(b)(8) — (Bank Records)

Matters related to the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.

(b)(9) — (Well Information)

Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.

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Appeals

If requested records are found inappropriate for disclosure and access is denied, the requester may appeal the decision within 35 days from the date of the denial letter. The appeal must be in writing and signed by the original requester.

Address the appeal letter to:
Director, United States Mint
Washington, D.C. 20220

The appeal should:

  • Reasonably describe the records requested
  • Specify the date of the initial request and date of the initial determination
  • Provide the address where the requester wishes to be notified of the decision on the appeal

Appeal procedures also apply to the denial of a request for a waiver or reduction of fees, or for a no records located response.

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The United States Mint Electronic Reading Room

The Mint’s Electronic Reading Room enables the public to access records already online and available, avoiding a FOIA request.

The type of information found in the Electronic Reading Room, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), as amended by P.L. 104-231 is FOIA-processed records that are likely to become the subject of subsequent FOIA requests, along with other “(a)(2)” materials (i.e., final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions and orders made in the Mint’s adjudication of cases; statements of policy and interpretation that have been adopted by the Mint and are not published in the Federal Register; and administrative staff manuals and instructions, or portions thereof, that establish Mint policy that affect a member of the Public). Specifically,

  • Frequently requested United States Mint contracts and associated attachments and/or modifications
  • The United States Mint’s Directive on FOIA
  • The FOIA Report to Congress
  • The United States Mint Strategic Plan
  • The United States Mint Annual Report
  • Statements of the Director of the Mint and other Mint Officials before Congressional Committees
  • The Negotiated Agreement Between the United States Mint and Mint Council American Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO)
  • The Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee (CCCAC) Annual Report to Congress
  • The Commemorative Coin Program Report (CCRA)
  • The Public Enterprise Fund (PEF) Report
  • Mint Press Releases

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Information Available to the Public

The United States Mint produces the Nation’s circulating, numismatic, and bullion coinage. The following documents expand on the operations and functions of the Mint and are available to the public (the Mint reserves the right to invoke 5 U.S.C., 552(b) exemptions, when appropriate):

  • United States Mint Solicitations, Contracts, and Purchase Orders
  • The Mint’s Directive on the FOIA (i.e., Mint Directive MD 7B-7)
  • Freedom of Information Act Report to Congress
  • CFO Annual Financial Report
  • United States Mint Strategic Plan
  • United States Mint Annual Report
  • Statements of the Director of the Mint and other Mint Officials before Congressional Committees
  • Negotiated Agreement Between the United States Mint and Mint Council American Federation of Government Employees (AFL-CIO)
  • Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee (CCCAC) Annual Report to Congress
  • Mint Press Releases

In addition, Coin/Medal Order Forms are available to the public. Write to the United States Mint, Customer Care Center, 801 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20220.

The order forms are also available over the counter from the following locations:

United States Mint Sales Center
Union Station (Street level; Main Hall)
50 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002

United States Mint
151 North Independence-Mall East
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1886

United States Mint
320 West Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80204-2693

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Reference Materials

The Department of the Treasury Bureau FOIA Offices:

Disclosure Services
Room 1054-MT
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Freedom of Information Act Request
Chief, Disclosure Branch
650 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20226

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Freedom of Information Act Request
Disclosure Officer
Room 104-18M
14th & C Streets, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20228

Comptroller of the Currency
Freedom of Information Act Request
Freedom of Information Officer
Communications Division, 3rd Floor
250 E Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20219

U.S. Customs Service
Freedom of Information Act
Chief, Disclosure Law Branch
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20229

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
Freedom of Information Act Request
Freedom of Information Act Officer
Department of the Treasury
Building 94
Glynco, GA 31524

Financial Management Service
Freedom of Information Request
401 14th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20227

Internal Revenue Service
Freedom of Information Request
P.O. Box 795 – Ben Franklin Station
Washington, D.C. 20044

United States Mint
Disclosure Officer
801 9th Street, N.W., 8th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20220

Bureau of the Public Debt
Freedom of Information Act Request
Information Officer
Room 553
999 E Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20239

U.S. Secret Service
Freedom of Information Act Request
FOIA and Privacy Acts Officer
1800 G Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20223

Office of Thrift Supervision
Freedom of Information Request
Chief, Disclosure Branch

Information Services Division
1700 G Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20552

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