CULLMAN, Ala. — In what would appear to be a case of government run amuck, at least two state agencies in Alabama won’t let people take pictures of public records, with an attorney for one equating the idea with stealing.

Tim McCollum, an assistant attorney general with the Alabama Department of Public Safety, told AL.com a taxpayer who wants to get a document for free by taking a picture wants “to steal from the citizens of Alabama.”

He said “to get a copy of the contract, you’re going to have to pay for it.”

Frank Gibson, a past president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, said that statement is “absurd.”

“The government does not own the records,” he told Watchdog.org. “They collect them for the benefit of citizens.”

McCollum didn’t return a phone call or respond to an email from Watchdog on Friday.

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