Barletta says there's no ban on recording public forums
U.S. Representative Lou Barletta has explained the policy about the recording of his public forums. There is no ban on recording public forums held by Barletta. There has never been a ban on recording public forums held by Barletta, according to a press release from the Congressman.
On May 19, Barletta met privately with residents in Salem Township, Luzerne County. That meeting was intended to be a private meeting to discuss the residents' concerns, including those about new flood maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A few days before the meeting, activist group MoveOn.org learned about the private meeting and publicized it on its Web site and encouraged its members to attend. Previously, MoveOn.org had mobilized its members to disrupt Barletta's public "Home to House" forums. Activists became so disruptive that police escorted them from the forum.
Because this was a private meeting, those without media credentials were not allowed to record the session. 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.
The meeting in Salem Township was not a public forum. It was not advertised as such by Barletta's office. No press releases were issued. No constituent phone calls (robocalls) were made by Barletta's office. No social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) was used to promote it. All of those methods are used to promote Barletta's public forums.
None of those methods were used in the case of the Salem Township meeting because the meeting in Salem Township was not a public forum. It was a private meeting with residents.
"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," 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."