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John Culberson Watch: Ordering the Tide to Stop

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Representative John Culberson, R-Texas interviews Representative Brian Bilbray, R-California and live video streams in apparent violation of House of Representative rules.

Flap was away last week when this twitter flap surfaced between John Culberson and the Democrat House leadership. Otherwise, Flap would certainly have jumped into the fray – which by the way is ongoing.

Texas Rep. John Culberson uses his Blackberry to post blurbs about his work onto Twitter, a social networking site on the Internet. The Internet has set him free from unfair media reports and other barriers between him and his constituents, enabling him to better represent them in Congress, he says.

But Culberson’s actions have put him in possible violation of House rules that appear to ban blogging or other work-related activities on non-House Web sites.

Current rules “have been interpreted to prohibit (House) members from posting official content outside of the House.gov domain,” Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., chairman of the Congressional Commission on Mailing Standards, better known as the franking committee, wrote in a report late last month.

In a series of recommendations sent to House Administration Capitol Security Subcommittee Chairman Robert Brady, Capuano said some rules are necessary so as not to mix House official messages with commercial or political campaign material.

“Members of Congress who use taxpayer money to communicate with constituents should be held to the highest possible standard of independence — and the appearance of independence,” he said last week.

“Official content” — like video — that is posted outside the House.gov domain should be clearly marked, should not appear alongside commercial or campaign content and should contain an exit notice for people linking out from the House.gov domain, Capuano recommended.

And, does anyone expect these rules which equal censorship and a violation of the First Amendment will pass a federal court Constitutional review?

But, if the Democrats think their AS(S)inine rules will pass Constitutional muster, Flap says bring it on. A federal appeals court WILL laugh these arguments to prohibit speech from the Halls of Congress out of court.

How is this speech useful or relevant?

For example, Flap received a tweet from @JohnCulberson yesterday afternoon reporting a personal attack House Floor fight between Reps. Silvestre Reyes and Pete Hoekstra. Flap was instantly able to tune into C-Span and watch Steny Hoyer, Democrat House Majority Leader take to the floor and make a complete ass of himself in order to quell the disturbance.

Yes. This is inside political baseball but will certainly add context and immediate information to the public in the workings of THEIR government.

Isn’t government, as invisioned by the Founders, required to be transparent?

The Democrats will relent on the rules or NOT enforce them. In the meantime follow @JohnCulberson and Representative Bob Latta@BobLatta

Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will NOT be able to order the tide to stop.


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