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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Somewhere in Iowa, a Government Official Wants to Charge You...

for reviewing records requests.

Not fulfilling them, mind you, but merely for processing them.

My pal Al Cross over at The Rural Blog has the scoop:

The latest proponent of this bad idea is Democratic Gov. Chet Culver of Iowa, whose office started charging such fees after The Des Moines Register made "two unusually large and unconnected requests for public e-mails" in March, Lee Rood of the Register reported last week. "The requests also came after the governor’s office had mulled for more than a year about rare requests for large numbers of public information that take a lot of agencies’ time to compile," Rood writes, quoting Culver General Counsel James Larew as saying that charging fees to retrieve public documents is supported by case law and has prompted requesters to scale back their requests, and the new fees were intended to “discipline” requesters, not restrain them. "The charges can be levied when a request for records is estimated to take more than three hour of lawyers’ time, Larew said."

This stinker of an idea is worth watching. As Al said, bad ideas like this have a way of germinating...

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