A conservative group that promotes government accountability asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate the unintentional broadcast of U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany’s staffers talking about the congressman’s Republican opponents in the race for the U.S. Senate.Actually, it's more what didn't he or his staff know. As in, they didn't know what that one button on Facebook does.
“This isn’t the biggest crime ever committed,” said Matthew G. Whitaker, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust. “But we’re especially sensitive when congressmen use their official resources for campaign purposes.”
Using congressional offices for campaign purposes is expressly forbidden in the House rules. “As the Ethics Manual recognizes, this is a “serious matter” and the citizens deserve to know whether taxpayer-funded resources have been misused,” the complaint stated in its request for an investigation.
The fact of the recording isn't even the issue, according to this supposed watchdog group. Instead it was the fact of a campaign conversation happening in a congressional office. Which, surely, is a thing that never ever happens on any given day of the week. Anyway, as they say it, "isn't the biggest crime ever committed." Neither, by the way, was last week's congressional gun vote sit-in but they complained about that too.
FACT is a Washington, D.C.-based group that has filed several complaints against congressmen, the most recent being against members who used the gun control protest on the House floor last week to raise campaign funds. Whitaker had been an U.S. Attorney in Iowa and a 2014 Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from that state.Recall that a big feature of that event involved House members broadcasting from the floor via Periscope. So it turns out that FACT is quickly becoming the live stream police for our nation's capitol. Maybe they should get one of these.
The patent application explains that “[the transmitter] can be located in an area where photography is prohibited and [the infrared signal] can include encoded data that represents a command to disable recording functions. In some embodiments, a transmitter can be located in areas where capturing pictures and videos is prohibited (e.g., a concert or a classified facility) and the transmitters can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands temporarily disabling recording functions.”Somewhat off topic observation here but, wow does the future ever suck.