Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) has introduced legislation that would codify in law that social media gets preserved as formal government records.
Known as the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement (COVFEFE Act), the bill would amend the Presidential Records Act to include the term “social media” as a documentary material, thereby ensuring additional preservation of presidential communication and statements. Quigley says it would help to ensure accountability and transparency as well.
“In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets,” said Quigley. “President Trump’s frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented. If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference.”
If the bill were to be signed into law, it could also make deleting the president’s tweets illegal.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has also looked into the matter of preserving the president’s tweets earlier this year. Committee members sent a letter to the White House out of concerns about the potential for violating the Presidential Records Act with respect to President Trump’s use of Twitter.
The letter stated:
President Trump uses at least two Twitter accounts… Many of the messages sent from these accounts are likely to be presidential records and therefore must be preserved. It has been reported, however, that President Trump has deleted tweets, and if those tweets are not archived it could pose a violation of the Presidential Records Act.
Quigley added, “Tweets are powerful, and the President must be held accountable for every post.”
Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017