PHILADELPHIA – Congressman Ryan Costello, a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania’s 6th U.S. House district, will host a town hall meeting in West Chester on Saturday afternoon, and the public event with constituents comes with a twist: Costello will not allow those in attendance to video record the event.
The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania: “Why is Congressman Costello holding a town hall meeting in the dark? What is he trying to hide? Constituents have a right to record elected officials as they carry out their duties in public. By all appearances, the prohibition on recording at this event is intended to avoid accountability and scrutiny. “If the congressman and his constituents are discussing issues of public concern, he cannot curtail their ability to use video recording to document the event.” The following can be attributed to Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania: “The congressman’s use of courthouse rules on recording is naïve, at best, and cynical, at worst. Those rules exist specifically for courtroom proceedings, not for the building as a whole. “Recording a public official at work is protected expression under the First Amendment.” Costello’s town hall meeting will be held on Saturday at 2:30pm at the Chester County Courthouse.