Today, Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS-2) introduced legislation to expand the rights of all Americans to record conversations with federal agency employees. The Citizen Empowerment Act will require most federal agency employees to provide individuals with a verbal or written notice of the individual's right to record a conversation before a meeting or telephone call. Currently, the law only allows individuals to record in-person conversations with IRS officials under certain circumstances. This bill would expand the law to apply to both in-person and telephone conversations with most executive branch agencies, and require government officials to notify citizens of their right to record the conversation.
"In recent months, we have seen many examples of our nation's bloated bureaucracy making life harder for Americans and their families. In meetings with folks across Eastern Kansas, and in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, I have heard story after story of federal regulators abusing their power," said Congresswoman Jenkins. "The Citizen Empowerment Act will ensure all Americans are aware of their rights, give individuals a new tool to fight back, and allow citizens to protect themselves or their businesses when a government official comes calling."
In addition to allowing individuals to record meetings with most executive branch agencies, even if the conversation is over the telephone, the Citizen Empowerment Act also amends current law in other ways. This bill eliminates the requirement to provide 10 days advance notice if individuals plan to record a meeting or conversation. It also extends the right to record a conversation to any stage of an investigation. Under current law, it only applies to the initial stages of an investigation.
Jenkins is working with U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.