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Aug. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Tweets Surrounding Paul Ryan Pick May Have Violated Electioneering Rules

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers tweeted a series of celebratory messages about the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as the GOP vice presidential candidate but then deleted them later on.

"It was yet another indication that lawmakers, who are working hard to be hip to social media, haven't quite mastered the nuances of communications in an electronic age," the Sunlight Foundation's Kathryn Lucero wrote of these recent incidents. "Social media has helped congressional offices connect with constituents. ... But the easy access to these new media platforms, like Twitter, has led many elected officials to impulsively blurt out their opinion regarding campaign-related matters."

The Members' Congressional Handbook governs posting standards on third-party social media sites for Members in the House and is very specific in its ban on electioneering on those sites in official capacities - but does not mention Twitter specifically. A new franking manual could be rolled out later this year from the bipartisan House Franking Commission that revises and clarifies terms of use across a wide range of Members' mass communications, but Twitter rules would not be included in that update.

Correction: 10:15 a.m.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated what would be included in the new franking manual. The Members' Congressional Handbook dictates terms of use for Twitter and the use of third-party social media websites.

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