Jenkins pushes for rights to record conversations with federal agencies

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) recently introduced legislation to expand the rights of all Americans to record conversations with federal agency employees.

The proposed bill, the Citizen Empowerment Act, would require most federal agency employees to provide individuals with a verbal or written notice of their right to record a conversation before a meeting or telephone call.

Current law only allows individuals to record in-person conversations with Internal Revenue Service officials under certain circumstances. The proposed bill would expand the law to apply to both in-person and telephone conversations with most executive branch agencies and would 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,” Jenkins said. “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. 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.”

The Citizen Empowerment Act would also amend current law by eliminating the requirement to provide 10 days advance notice if individuals plan to record a meeting or conversation. Additional changes would also include extending an individual’s right to record a conversation at any stage of an investigation, such rights under current law only apply to the initial stages of an investigation.

Jenkins is working with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.