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United States Department of the Interior
Montana State Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101-4669

July 8, 2009

1278 (MT9340.DD) P
Information Bulletin No. MT-2009-044
To:                   State Management Team, Assistant Field Managers, Public Affairs Specialists, Administrative Officers, Support Services Supervisor
From:               Deputy State Director, Division of Support Services
Subject:           Requests for Non-public Records from Congressional Offices
Program Area: External Access to BLM Records
This information bulletin (IB) serves as a reminder of the on-going policy for processing requests for non-public records1 from 1) individual members of Congress or 2) congressional committees or subcommittees. It does not apply to other congressional correspondence or to requests for records that are designated as public records2.
  1. Requests from Individual Members of Congress 
Requests for access to non-public records from individual members of Congress are processed under the FOIA in the same manner as requests from the general public. Upon receipt, these requests must be forwarded to the state FOIA coordinator immediately. The requests are processed through the state FOIA coordinator since special handling procedures are required by the Washington Office. 
  1. Requests from Congressional Committees or Subcommittees 
Requests for access to non-public records from congressional committees or subcommittees are not processed under the FOIA. Upon receipt, these requests must be forwarded to the state External Affairs staff immediately. The state External Affairs office will coordinate responses to these requests and follow the special handling procedures as required by the Washington Office. Requests from a committee or subcommittee of Congress for records are treated separately from other access requests because the FOIA does not provide the authority to withhold information from a congressional committee.
For further clarification or questions, contact Debbie DeBock, state FOIA coordinator, at
(406) 896-5157, or Greg Albright, Acting Chief of External Affairs, at (406) 896-5252.
Signed by:                                                                             Authenticated by:
Diane M. Friez                                                                        Jennifer C. McKinley, (MT9340)
Deputy State Director,                                                           Staff Assistant (O.A.)
Division of Support Services

[1] Non-public records includes all records not designated as publicly available. Non-public records are normally not available to the public through an Information Access Center (public room), but require a Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act request. Non-public records may include grazing authorization files, general correspondence files, internal memoranda, agreements, contracts, internal working documents (drafts), documents containing proprietary/confidential or otherwise sensitive information, etc.
[2] Public records (traditionally available/unlimited access records) are those BLM records for which the entities outside of BLM have the right to view/inspect without charge. Public records may include oil and gas records, mining claim files, final opinions made in the adjudication of cases, administrative manuals and staff manuals that affect a member of the public (includes information bulletins and instruction memorandums), etc.