Change to electronic recordkeeping adds cost to FOIA requests

From The Daily Progress:  A shift to electronic filing for financial disclosure forms for 25,000 state workers and elected officials means it could cost the public dramatically more to get the records.

Searching 2008 to 2011 disclosure records for 525 Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control employees, for example, cost The Daily Progress nothing. The price tag for accessing the same documents for 2012 would have been $1,200, according to state officials.

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Watchdog group grades agencies’ FOIA performance

From FCW:

The Center for Effective Government on March 13 released a report on the government’s Freedom of Information Act response efforts, finding that agencies processed more FOIA in 2012 than in previous years, and that backlogs have declined even as the number of requests has grown. But more requests are being redacted, the report found, and the cost of FOIA processing varied widely from agency to agency.

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What cost freedom — of information?

Here are several interesting items of note in the last couple days regarding costs associated with fulfilling public records requests—and the fighting thereof.

Granted, if not these then at least some agencies likely have used or will use costs—actual or estimated, reasonable or outlandish—as a way of deflecting criticism when requested records are not searched for adequately or are ultimately not located, and that is unacceptable.

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