Sample Federal Freedom of Information Act Request Letter
(Note: The letter can be mailed or emailed to the appropriate federal government agency.)
Telephone Number (business hours)
Name of Federal Government Agency
Address of Federal Government Agency
Dear Freedom of Information Officers:
This request is made under the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.
Please send me copies of (In this part of the letter, describe as specifically as possible the information you are requesting, such as names, dates, locations of reports. You may also attach news clips, reports, letters or other information that would help officials locate the data you are requesting.)
The Freedom of Information Act, as you are aware, provides that if portions of a document are exempt, the remainder must be segregated and released. Therefore, I would appreciate your sending me all non-exempt portions of those records I have requested. Should you elect to withhold or delete any information, please justify your decision by referencing specific exemptions under the act. Under provisions of the FOI Act, I reserve the right to appeal should you determine to withhold any information sought in my request.
I agree to pay reasonable search and/or duplication fees connected with my request. However, should you estimate the total fees will exceed (insert here the maximum amount you are willing to pay), please notify me so that I may authorize expenditures of a greater amount.
While I am prepared to pay such reasonable fees, the FOI Act provides for a waiver or reduction of fees if disclosure could be considered as “primarily benefiting the general public.” I am a (scholar, journalist, research, etc., if applicable) on the staff of (name of publication, station, university, etc.) and plan to use the requested information in a planned (article, book, broadcast, research paper, etc.) (Add any argument here in support of the public interest aspect of your research.) Therefore, I ask that you waive all search and/or duplication costs. Should you deny my request for a waiver of fees, however, and the estimated fees exceed (insert here the maximum amount you are willing to pay), please notify me of the charges so that I may decide whether to pay the fees or appeal your denial of my request for a waiver.
(Optional) Since I am making this request in my capacity as a (scholar, journalist, researcher, etc.) and because this information is of a timely nature, I would appreciate your communicating with me by telephone or email (include email address) rather than by mail if you have any questions regarding the request.
Thank you for your cooperation. I look forward to receiving your reply promptly.