WASHINGTON -- Rep. Keith Ellison's use of his Twitter account to promote his campaign for Democratic National Committee chairman has sparked questions from a right-wing interest group and may run afoul of House rules.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust -- or FACT -- filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics this week, questioning Ellison's use of Twitter. The right-leaning non-profit group says Ellison's use of Twitter is questionable because he is using his personal account as his constituent-facing account, which official House rules prohibit.
"Congressional ethics rules clearly state that Members of Congress are not allowed to link to personal twitter accounts on their congressional website," said Kendra Arnold, general counsel for FACT. "If Congressman Ellison is using a personal Twitter account as his constituent facing account, then he is in violation of these rules."
Ellison's official Twitter account calls himself a member of Congress and links to his official House webpage and is his public facing account for both constituent services and politics. Ellison is in the running to chair the DNC.
Ellison's staffers have pointed out previously that his Twitter handle @keithellison is a personal account and it doesn't have the word "Rep" in the name, so is not subject to House rules that prohibit promoting politics from a government platform.
Ellison frequently uses the account and intermixes official House office news and announcements with political promotion -- including his platform to run the DNC. During Black Lives Matter protests in Minneapolis, he also used the Twitter account to communicate with protesters.
House rules state members' use of social media must adhere to rules keeping politics out of any official House business.
The House Ethics Committee provides further guidance: "You may not include a link to a campaign in Congressional communications, on official Websites or on official social/new media."