Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rand Paul Just Stole Public Records and Wants Your Vote

There at one time was an "@SenRandPaul" Twitter account.  It's not called that anymore because in April of this year when U.S. Senator Rand Paul announced he would run for President he renamed his account to @RandPaul.  

Senator Paul created the account in 2010, but don't be mislead into thinking he's been campaigning for President all that time.  No, Senator Paul was using the previously named @SenRandPaul account as a way to communicate with the general public about the work he did as Senator.  You can even find the account published on this government website:   If you're inclined you can scroll back through time on Paul's Twitter feed prior to when he announced his candidacy and see the Tweets he posted in relation to his position as Senator.

It is very clear that the @SenRandPaul Twitter account was public and it still should be, regardless of the fact that Senator Paul renamed it and is using it as a campaign account.  By taking personal control over an account that had public use Senator Paul is in violation of the same Federal Code I accused the President of violating in my previous blog post, see link  This is a link to Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations section 2635.702 regarding the use of public office for private gain.

However, Senator Rand also has to follow the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics campaign activity guidelines.  I like the part that states, "The Committee has advised, however, that unsolicited contributions delivered or mailed to the Senate office should not be accepted if there is any indication of a connection between the contribution and official business."  Since Senator Paul utilized his once PUBLIC Twitter account to now using it as a tool to privately raise money, should he be able to keep any of it?  He didn't follow the proper "soliciting" protocol and maybe those funds should be returned.

This is the equivalent of Senator Rand Paul taking his public Senate email address, phone number, or website and using it as his official campaign purposes.  He can create public record, but he can't take personal control over the records he creates.

Interestingly, Senator Paul is not alone in his wrongdoings.  Let's take a look at who else is guilty of misusing Twitter for campaigning purposes.

  • Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:  The @BobbyJindal Twitter account is the only account associated to Gov. Jindal.  He uses it to post mainly Tweets related to his position as Governor, Tweets of personal nature, and most recently as a Presidential campaigning tool:

  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz:  Senator Cruz has a public Twitter account and a private one that he is now using to campaign with.  But, yikes!  Look at this job-related Tweet I found posted to,@tedcruz, which is his private account:

  • U.S. Senator Marco Rubio:  Senator Rubio also has two Twitter accounts, @SenRubioPress is his public one, and @marcorubio is his private one.  However, Senator Rubio has misstated the purpose of his private account because he has it published publicly on official government sites:

This screen shot is an image of Rubio's official government website.  Under the heading Latest Updates you will see he is posting links to his private Twitter account.  Maybe he forgot that he can't use his public office for personal gain.

Also, on the following link you will find Rubio's private Twitter account published by the U.S. Government Printing Office in a contact directory for the 113th Congress:  Would they have published his private mailing address?

  • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:  Gov. Walker lets his wife, Tonette, to post Tweets from his private account.  Well, Tweetn' Tonette tends to post things that regardless of who's initials follow the Tweet in question, the fact remains the same that it is still being posted on the @ScottWalker account and he is the only person who can speak for himself.  Yes, maybe a staff member can sign off on a Tweet, but when your spouse is otherwise saying something on your account that not even you can say, then that's a problem.  For example, below is a Tweet that Tonette posted.  We should look at this Tweet as one that Gov. Walker posted himself because it is on his account.  The problem is that he can't use his private account to discuss matters of public business.  This Tweet belongs on his public account, @GovWalker

Tonette Walker has graced us with hundreds of similar Tweets that can be found on Gov. Walker's private Twitter account.

  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie:  Gov. Christie does well to have a public Twitter account, @GovChristie, and a private one, @ChrisChristie.  On his private account you will find posts related to his position as Governor.  He also has a penchant for Re-Tweeting to his private account Tweets posted to his public one.  
In the example below you will see a post to Gov. Christie's private Twitter account regarding a very public policy-related speech he recently delivered.  This same announcement did not appear on his public Twitter account.  This is what taking advantage of your public position for personal gain looks like.