(Provided by Joey Senat, Ph.D., OSU School of Journalism and Broadcasting. The letter is free, but please notify me by e-mail when it is used.)
NAME OF OFFICIAL
Dear (NAME OF OFFICIAL):
Under the Oklahoma Open Records Act, Title 51, Sections 24A.1-24A.22, I am requesting that any and all records related to (NAME OF RECORDS/GENERAL DESCRIPTION) be made available to me for inspection. These records should include, but not be limited to, the following:
(DETAILED LISTING OF RECORDS)
I acknowledge that not all government-held information is open to the public. However, the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2003 said the party claiming non-disclosure carries the burden to prove that an exemption applies. If you claim such an exemption to my request under the Oklahoma Open Records Act, please cite in writing the specific statutory exemption.
I note that Oklahomans “are vested with the inherent right to know and be fully informed about their government” and that the purpose of the Oklahoma Open Records Act is “to ensure and facilitate the public’s right of access to and review of government records so they may efficiently and intelligently exercise their inherent political power.” Given the intent of the Open Records Act, the Oklahoma Supreme Court said in 1986, government officials must consider in ruling on records requests that “disclosure is to be favored over a finding of exemption.”
Please note that I am asking to inspect these records. I reserve, however, the right to request copies when the records are examined.
The Oklahoma Open Records Act prohibits the charging of a search fee when the release of the “documents is in the public interest, including, but not limited to, release to the news media, scholars, authors and taxpayers seeking to determine whether those entrusted with the affairs of the government are honestly, faithfully, and competently performing their duties as public servants.” (EXPLAIN YOUR IDENTIY/PURPOSE IN TERMS THAT FIT THE PROVISION) My request clearly falls within this provision of the Open Records Act and no search fee should be charged for this request.
The Oklahoma Open Records Act requires that public bodies provide “prompt, reasonable access to its records,” which Attorney General Drew Edmondson in 1999 defined as meaning “only the time required to locate and compile the public records.” Please respond to this request by no later than (DATE).
Thank you for your cooperation.
(YOUR NAME, TITLE AND CONTACT INFORMATION, INCLUDING ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER AND E-MAIL ADDRESS)
 Citizens Against Taxpayer Abuse, Inc. v. City of Oklahoma City, 2003 OK 65, ¶ 12 (“The public body urging an exemption has the burden to establish the applicability of such exemption.”). See also Tulsa Tribune Co. v. Okla. Horse Racing Comm’n, 1986 OK 24, ¶ 23 n.15, 735 P.2d 548, 555 n.15 (“In any proceeding the party urging the exemption of materials from disclosure will have the burden of proof to show the applicability of such an exemption.”); 1995 OK AG 97, ¶ 5 (“The burden to establish a privilege of confidentiality rests upon the person or entity that seeks to establish it.”).
 Okla. Stat. tit. 51, § 24A.2 (OSCN 2001) (“As the Oklahoma Constitution recognizes and guarantees, all political power is inherent in the people. Thus, it is the public policy of the State of Oklahoma that the people are vested with the inherent right to know and be fully informed about their government.”).
 Tulsa Tribune Co. v. Okla. Horse Racing Comm’n, 1986 OK 24, ¶ 22, 735 P.2d 548, 555 (“In ruling on a request for disclosure the public body and the reviewing court must consider that, pursuant to the intent of the Open Records Act, disclosure of information is to be favored over a finding of exemption.”). See also1995 OK AG 97, ¶ 5 (“The Act is construed “to favor disclosure” over withholding information.”); 1988 OK AG 35, ¶ 3 (“It is clear from this definition that the Act is intended to be quite broad in its coverage in the State. Similarly, the intent of the Act requires that questions of doubt as to the accessibility of government records be resolved in favor of access.”).
 Okla. Stat. tit. 51, § 24A.5(3). See also 1999 OK AG 55, ¶ 15 (“[A] search fee cannot be charged when release of public records is in the public interest, such as release to the news media, scholars, authors or taxpayers seeking to determine if government affairs are being properly performed.”); 1988 OK AG 35, ¶ 6 (citing Okla. Stat. tit. 51, § 24A.5(3) (1987)) (“[A] public body subject to the Act’s requirements may not charge a special ‘search fee’ to any member of the news media who is seeking information in the public interest, such as attempts by such persons to determine whether those entrusted with the affairs of the government are honestly, faithfully, and competently performing their duties as public servants.”). “[T]here is no situation under which a member of the news media may be lawfully charged a search fee by a public body. 51 O.S. 24A.5(3) … is quite clear on that point when it decrees ‘in no case’ may such search fees be assessed in such circumstances,” id. ¶ 5.
 Okla. Stat. tit. 51, § 24A.5(5).
 1999 OK AG 58, ¶ 15, ¶ 9 (relying upon Merrill v. Oklahoma Tax Comm’n, 1992 OK 53, 831 P.2d 634) (“There is no provision in the Open Records Act for a public body to ‘withhold’ records for any amount of time, however small. The duty to provide prompt and reasonable access is complied with only when a public body properly attends to its duty to provide a record.”).