May 30 2008 / by AllyKlimkoski / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Government Year: 2008 Rating: 16 Hot
Cross-posted from futuremajority.com
A few times this year bloggers got the wild hair to start talking about the potential we have to bring more people to our government by making Congress more 2.0 friendly.
It started way back in March, when Matt Stoller at Open Left went off about Franking Rules. Franking Rules are Congressional regulations that limit what members of Congress can do in outreach to their constituents. Sometimes too much outreach from a Congressional office can be seen as “campaigning” and the Franking Rules protect taxpayers from essentially paying for campaigns and creating an unfair advantage for incumbents. Since I heard about them, I’ve not stopped thinking about their implications. Well, in reality I had been thinking about it before that back when Obama’s campaign announced that it would make the Chief Technology Officer a cabinet position.
The problem in Congress is that our Franking Rules were last updated back in 1998 before google, before mapquest and google earth, before DailyKos, before an age when people actually had access to information and their Representatives literally at their fingertips. Thus they are out of step with where we are today, not to mention the potential for the future, and it continues to grow by leaps and bounds too quickly.
While I’ll agree that Congress’s use of technology is better than they it used to be, there is still a huge lack of availability for our members to use technology to create cheaper, more connected, and more transparent relationships with their constituents.
Franking Rules state that unless you’re in the leadership you can’t use anything outside the House/Senate firewall. So, YouTube is technically not ok (even though most members are pushing the envelope), no Facebook, or Myspace… nothing… (cont.)