Did Sunlight silence Jeff Miller’s tweets?


Image of Jeremy Stahl tweet about Rep. Jeff Miller's missing Twitter accountRep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., took his Twitter account private on Wednesday shortly after the Sunlight Foundation reported that he had deleted a tweet including a link to a poll about President Obama's birthplace.

Miller's last public tweet — "Florida set to toughen ID theft" — came at 1:33 p.m., less than an hour after Sunlight revealed his online erasure in a blog post. Slate writer Jeremy Stahl appears to have been the first to notice the sudden disappearance of the five-term Pensacola congressman's Twitter acount, @CongJeffMiller.

Sunlight phoned and emailed the congressman's communications director, Dan McFaul, for more information, but so far, we haven't heard back. 

The mystery of the congressman's disappearing Twitter account began with Sunlight's blog post announcing the creation of Politwoops, a catalogue of tweets deleted by elected officials.  Miller was cited in the post for deleting a tweet, 12 days ago, that linked to a Facebook poll on whether the president was born in the United States — an issue that continues to surface despite ample evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii and despite the fact that aides for GOP presidential nominee-to-be Mitt Romney have said it should not be an issue in the 2012 race.

Up until Wednesday afternoon, Miller maintained an active presence on Twitter, sometimes posting several times a day. The citizenship credentials of presidential candidates appears to have been more than a passing preoccupation:  Earlier Wednesday, he tweeted out a link to a Reuters story about the controversy surrounding the qualifications of Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, to run for president in 1968. The elder Romney was born in Mexico to U.S. citizen parents. The story noted that Mitt Romney had released his birth certificate — offering proof that he was born in Detroit. 

The congressman's Florida panhandle district was once represented by MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough. First elected to Congress in a 2001 special election, Miller won his last race with 70 percent of the vote.

(Keenan Steiner and Christopher Mascaro contributed to this post.)