Barletta: There Was Never a Recording Ban (Updated)
By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
6:15pm Update: Video shows Barletta staffer enforcing recording ban.
Rep. Lou Barletta issued a statement this afternoon saying that his office had never placed any ban on the use of recording devices in his public meetings.
“There is no ban on recording public forums held by Rep. Barletta. There has never been a ban on recording public forums held by Rep. Barletta,” read the statement.
Barletta has been under scrutiny following reports that his office had banned the use of such devices by attendees who were not members of the press. The statement from his office explained that the event in question had been intended as private, and was opened to the press only after news of the meeting was published.
“Because this was a private meeting, those without media credentials were not allowed to record the session,” wrote his office in the statement. “Members of the media were allowed to attend and record the session because one media outlet had previously reported that the session would take place.”
When PoliticsPA contacted Barletta’s office immediately after the event, spokesman Shawn Kelly did not dispute the existence of a ban. Instead, he cited potentially shy constituents.
“Meetings are for the benefit of the people, and we don’t want to discourage people from asking questions who might be timid to do so on camera,” Kelly said at the time.
Prior to the May 19 meeting, several online videos surfaced depicting unruly constituent meetings hosted by the Congressman. Much of the consternation focused on Barletta’s recent vote for the House GOP budget, which critics cast as a vote to end Medicare. Local and national Democratic groups had encouraged their members to attend Barletta’s meetings and challenge him on the issue.
“People have been following me with cameras for years, so I have no problem with people recording my Home to House public forums. I have never banned cameras from my public meetings,” Rep. Barletta said. “I encourage people to attend my public forums and learn about what’s going on in Washington, and to offer their comments and input that I can take back to Congress with me.”