Boehner, GOP Exploiting Democrats' Social Media

Tuesday, 23 Nov 2010 01:53 PM

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House Speaker-to-be John Boehner has joined Visible Vote, a social media application designed to promote instantaneous communication between voters and their elected representatives, the National Journal reports. It’s already been a big hit with Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., who is one of several early adopters of the technology.

boehner,visible,vote,cantor,obama,democrats,social,mediaThe only problem is that the technology was subsidized by one of President Barack Obama’s posse of techno-literati, his friend and former campaign finance chairwoman Penny Pritzker, an heiress to the Hyatt hotel fortune.

The irony is furthered by the fact that it’s one of several examples of the GOP's seizing on technology developed by Democrats, who appeared to be at the cutting edge of digital media politicians used in 2008.

“We didn’t understand that the adoption was happening pretty much on the right at first, so that was kind of a coincidence, I guess,” said Paul Everton, founder and CEO of Visible Vote. “Now that everybody realizes how important transparency and accountability is . . . I think we’re going to see a pickup from both. We’re getting a lot of interest from the left now.”

So far, the biggest name on the slim list of Democratic participants is Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who is facing House censure for not being transparent enough about his personal finances.

Everton told the Journal that the application is a nonpartisan tool aimed at improving communication between elected officials and their constituents — something he had to consider when negotiating with Jason Pritzker, an Obama donor.

“I was aware of his background,” Everton said, “and one of the stipulations that went into him investing was that the integrity of this and the nonpartisan nature of the actual application had to be maintained throughout. So it actually was part of our negotiations, and he was fine with that.”

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