Politics
Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel testifies during a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. Alex Wong/Getty Images. Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel testifies during a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. Alex Wong/Getty Images.  

Lawmaker wants to make it legal to record conversations with the feds

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Citing recent scandals across the federal government, a Republican lawmaker is pushing a new bill that would make it legal for Americans to record most conversations they have with employees of federal agencies.

“I have heard story after story of federal regulators abusing their power,” said Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Kansas Republican.

On Wednesday, Jenkins introduced legislation that she says would expand the rights of Americans to record their conversations with federal employees. Under current law, people are only able to lawfully record certain in-person conversations with IRS officials.

But under Jenkins proposal, that law would be expanded to allow people to record both in-person and phone conversations with most agencies in the executive branch. It would also require these government officials to tell people they have the right to record these conversations.

“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,” Jenkins said.

The Republican congresswoman said Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt plans to offer companion legislation in the Senate.

“In recent months, we have seen many examples of our nation’s bloated bureaucracy making life harder for Americans and their families,” she said.

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