Why won't House Democrats let Congressmen use technology?

In typical fashion, House Democrats are trying to pass rules that stifle debate and require regulation. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) sent a letter to the Chairman of the Committee on House Administraion Kevin Brady. The letter is a response to a debate about whether the House should allow members to use YouTube, first raised by Rep. Kevin McCarthy back in April. From that story:

The reason is simple enough: The Franking Commission frowns on official links to campaign-related Web sites, political parties, advocacy groups and "any site the primary purpose of which is the conduct of commerce."

Well, Capuano's proposal is a disaster. It creates a list of sites, maintained by the Committee on House Administration that members are allowed to post material. Except, those sites have a caveat:

To the maximum extent possible, official content should not be posted on a website or page where it may appear with commercial or political information or any other information not in compliance with the House's content guidelines.

Just to make it clear, these guidelines are apply to the content on the external site, not the House site. Would Larry Lessig call that "neanderthal"? This would, for example, not allow members to post information to Facebook, which has ads and, dare I say, political content.

House Republicans have the technologically serious response. Their response letter, attached, says:

Members may use technologies, websites, and services (paid or unpaid) too communicate with their consituents via text, video, or audio so long as the content posted by the Member complies with House rules and Franking Commission regulations. Members may use free communications and networking services so long as these services are available on the same terms and conditions as others.

Only the posted content must comply with House rules, not the whole external site.

Who gets technology? Either, as Capuano noted to the Post, ""To me, the Web is a necessary evil like cellphones," or House Democrats are trying to make it harder for the opposition to get their message out.

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