Search and review costs will be calculated based upon the pay scale of the person conducting the search or review. The two categories of FOIA personnel for fee purposes are “professional” and “administrative.” Duplication costs are assessed for only those records that ultimately are released in full or denied in part. Duplication costs are not assessed for records denied in full, or referred to originating agencies for direct reply.
Agreement to Pay Applicable Fees
No fee will be charged if the total fee calculated is $25.00 or less. If the DEA estimates that fees will exceed $25.00, the requester shall be so notified. Such notice shall offer the requester the opportunity to confer with DEA personnel with the object of reformulating the request to meet the requester's needs at a lower cost. The request shall not be processed further unless the requester agrees to pay the estimated fees or designates some amount of fees the requester is willing to pay.
When Fees are Assessed
Fees are generally assessed by DEA once it is determined that fees will exceed $25.00. If it is estimated that allowable charges are likely to exceed $250, the DEA may require a requester to make an advance payment up to the amount of the entire anticipated fee before beginning to process the request.
Fees Owed in Connection with Prior Requests
Requesters who owe fees incurred in connection with the processing of previous requests must pay the fees owed prior to DEA processing any new requests. Such requests will not be processed until payment in full is received.
Requesters may set a limit on the amount that they are willing to pay. If it is anticipated that fees will exceed the fee limit set by the requester, or if in processing the request, fees begin to exceed the requester’s fee limit, the DEA will contact the requester to resolve the matter quickly. It is recommended that the requester indicate the maximum amount of fees that they are willing to pay with their initial request.
Search means to review, manually or by automated means, agency records for the purpose of locating those records which are responsive to a request. DEA will charge the estimated direct cost of each search based on the category of personnel conducting the search (see Search and Review Rates below).
Review of Records
Review consists of the initial examination of a record for the purposes of determining whether it must be disclosed under the FOIA and for the purposes of withholding any portions exempt from disclosure. Only requesters who are seeking records for commercial use may be charged for time spent reviewing records to determine whether they are releasable. DEA will charge the estimated direct cost of review based on the category of personnel conducting the review (see Search and Review Rates below).
Search and Review Rates
The categories of personnel that may conduct searches and reviews and the estimated hourly costs based on the average current salary rates (including benefits) for those categories are:
- Administrative/Clerical – $40/hour
- Professional – $40/hour
Duplication of Records
Records shall be duplicated at a rate of $.05 per page. DEA will provide records in electronic format when possible in order to negate the cost of duplication.