The GOP-led House Financical Services Committee has produced a highly-stylized video, posted on YouTube, attacking the Obama administration’s approach to regulation. A public interest group says the video comes pretty close to breaking House rules.
“This partisan video walks the line of the franking rules, but unfortunately may not cross it,” Public Citizen’s Lisa Gilbert told TPM.“The franking rules are not applied to congressional web sites with the same vigor as to congressional mailings, as the law was written at a time when few people recognized the role of the Internet,” Gilbert said. “This outdated policy should be changed, and taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund blatantly political videos.”
As it stands, the franking rules don’t apply to videos posted on third-party websites like YouTube at all. Instead, content such as the YouTube video is regulated by the Members’ Congressional Handbook, which are considerably less strict. Lack of enforcement of the rules isn’t anything new, and watchdogs say the House Administration Committee hasn’t done much to apply the rules to the digital realm.
On the other side of the aisle, the Republican National Committee is attacking the Democratic National Committee for using footage from President Obama’s speech to a joint session on Congress, which violates the rules of the House. The DNC isn’t subject to House rules, but the RNC evidently thinks they should be because Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz chairs the committee.
[Ed. note: This story has been updated to emphasize that the Members’ Congressional Handbook and not the Franking regulations currently regulate YouTube videos. Some watchdogs like Gilbert say that should change to keep taxpayers from funding overtly political material.]