What is FOIA?
The Freedom of Information Act, often referred to by its acronym, “FOIA,” is a federal law that allows a member of the public to request agency records. The request must reasonably describe a record or a discrete set of records within the agency’s control. Please note that the FOIA does not require any agency to answer questions or to do research to answer a question. Once OPIC receives a proper request for records, OPIC will search for responsive records and then review the results.
There are nine exemptions to the FOIA which allow an agency to withhold part or all of a record. OPIC’s most commonly invoked exceptions are: Exemption b(4), which is an exemption for certain confidential commercial information, and Exemption b(5), which is an exemption for litigation privileges such as internal deliberations and the attorney-client privilege. If OPIC utilizes these or any other exemptions, OPIC’s final response letter will provide a brief explanation of the withholdings, along with instructions on how to appeal the withholdings. OPIC makes its records available to the public to the greatest extent possible, however OPIC also recognizes that the soundness and viability of its programs depend in large measure upon full and reliable commercial, financial, technical, and business information received from applicants for OPIC assistance and the willingness of those applicants to provide such information depends on OPIC’s ability to hold it in confidence.
Accordingly, if a requested record contains third party information that may be considered confidential commercial information, such as the financial interests of an OPIC borrower, OPIC is required to provide that business submitter notice of the FOIA request and an opportunity to comment on the applicability of an exemption to their information. Business submitters may facilitate the identification of their confidential commercial information by marking it as such, however submitters will still be required to explain how their information qualifies for exemption before the exemption can be applied. More information on the notice and comment process is available in OPIC’s FOIA FAQ and in OPIC’s regulations.
WHERE CAN I FIND PUBLIC OPIC RECORDS?
OPIC’s website contains information on available programs and requirements as well as information on OPIC supported projects and OPIC events. The information OPIC is required to post can be found on the FOIA Reading Room page, however the list covers only a portion of the information available. Please browse OPIC’s website to see if the information you seek is already available. If it is not, we encourage you to read our FOIA FAQ before submitting a FOIA request. The FOIA FAQ contains more detail on FOIA fees, response timing, requesting records about yourself, and also provides a sample FOIA request format.
- FOIA Reading Room
- FOIA Log & Released Records
- FOIA Annual Reports and Chief Officer Reports
- FOIA Quarterly Reports
HOW DO I REQUEST OPIC RECORDS?
You may request OPIC records by filing a FOIA request. FOIA requests should include your name, method of contact, a description of the records sought and a fee authorization. Your request may also include a request for a certain fee requester categorization, which may reduce the amount of fees charged to you, and a request for a fee waiver. Both of these fee issues and many other topics are covered in the FOIA FAQ.
FOIA requests may be sent to email@example.com or mailed to:
FOIA Director (LA)
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
1100 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20527