12 INVESTIGATES: Price could keep you from seeing records - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

12 INVESTIGATES: Price could keep you from seeing disclosure records

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) -

Calls for change in Virginia's gift giving laws is the big topic as of late because of the scandal at the governor's office - but 12 investigates has learned if you want to see what gifts local agencies are getting, it could cost you big time.

The state just may be pricing you out of access to records you have a legal right to see. A reporter over at the Daily Progress in Charlottesville found this out while trying to uncover what gifts the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control employees were getting.

All of the state's 25,000 workers have to file financial disclosure forms. The state moved to electronic filing this year - meaning those records are now on a computer.

You'd think that would improve the system. Think again.

There are 525 ABC employees. Only one state official is in charge of those disclosure records. He says he would have to download the 2012 filings one by one and print them.

The cost to you? $1,200.

Those same records from 2011 would have been on paper, and if you brought a portable scanner to make copies, absolutely free.

The state says, for security reasons, it can't allow citizens to come to the office to look at these records online. So records you are supposed to have access to could be kept from you because they are just too expensive.

To fix this, it's going to take a change in law from the governor or your lawmakers.

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