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No bargains for public records in Alaska

Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Alaska is flush with cash, but there are no bargains for reporters and citizens asking for records of the taxpayers' money at work.

On the contrary, the state is setting prices for copies of government documents that could bring Gov. Sarah Palin's administration millions of dollars if anyone agrees to pay them.

Alaska officials said they have been swamped with requests for copies of state records ever since Palin was selected to be Republican John McCain's running mate. For requests of less than 200 pages, the state sometimes waives fees. Agencies also offer news organizations the opportunity to fine-tune their requests to avoid high fees.

The state is charging $960.31 per account to search through e-mails of state employees, which the state said would take 13 hours per e-mail account. Officials say the charges reflect their actual costs of paying state technology workers $74 per hour, not any profit.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press this week, Alaska's senior assistant attorney general said the state will not waive its high fees because of the current budget climate and the public's interest in spending taxpayer money wisely.



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