Arnold Kling poses that question., and he writes:
Suppose that when they meet with bankers, for example, Fed officials had to wear cameras and audio recorders, which could be obtained by FOIA requests. Or suppose that IRS officials had to wear cameras, for example, when they wrote emails or engaged in discussions about dealing with tax-exempt groups.
The intended consequences of the camera rule would be, as with having police wear cameras, to make sure that public officials remember that they are being watched and to reduce instances where they are wrongly suspected of acting against the public interest.
What might be the averse unintended consequences of forcing high-level public officials to wear cameras and recording devices when engaged in their ordinary duties?
I believe this practice would induce some offsetting adjustments. First, public officials would much more frequently act as if they were on television. We more or less know what that is like.
Second, the unmonitored positions would rapidly become much more powerful. The monitored positions would become a bit like the British monarchy, namely of great ceremonial importance, and capable of causing a public scandal with ill-thought out remarks, but not the real decision-makers.
Third, the demand for unmonitored “private contractors” would go up. These contractors would attach themselves to individual politicians, and carry out their will with the outside world, receiving their instructions as those politicians were initiating their love-making, off camera of course.