Speaker Pelosi has now weighed in the Franking reform discussion, further clarifying the intent behind the member web use reform initiatives under consideration. Her statement sends a strong signal in support of technology’s role in government, and acknowledges the need for updated restrictions:
We share the goal of modernizing the antiquated franking regulations to address the rapidly changing realities of communications in the internet age. Like many other Members, I have a blog, use YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Digg, and other new media to communicate with constituents, and I believe they are vital tools toward increasing transparency and accountability.
I can assure you that it is not the intention, nor will it be the result, of the final regulations to stifle, censor, or deprive Members of communicating effectively and in real-time with their constituents. I am confident that the Committee on House Administration will develop these final rules on a bipartisan basis, recognizing that we have a responsibility to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used for political or commercial purposes.
With these assurances in mind, hopefully the discussion (both within and outside Congress) will move to the mindful development of reasonable standards, so that Members and staff can confidently engage online.
If Pelosi’s own web presence is any indicator of the rules reforms, Congress will soon have a much more relevant presence online.