Congressional Email Problem

PR Week’s Ted McKenna reports that Congress is having trouble handling the flood of email Members receive, especially AstroTurf campaigns. David All suggests comment-enabled blogs as one means of filtering important communications.

As someone who is often on the other end of spam messages from Congressional staffers trying to get buzz on the blogs, I find the whole thing somewhat amusing.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Congress, Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Burgess says:

    ‘Comment enabled blogs’ doesn’t strike me as a winner. I’m getting over 3K comment spam/day on a blog that ranks in the mid-5K range at Truth Laid Bear. A congressional blog–actually, 637 of them–would be simply hammered with spam.

    Sounds like Congress should be looking for some of that software developed by NSA to scan content for keywords.

  2. Bithead says:

    Their complaints are VERY amusing, considering the screaming going on over a few ‘lost’ emails at the WH, that nobody’s even established EXISTS yet.

  3. legion says:

    Wha? Bithead, even the WH itself admits they’ve lost literally millions of e-mails that should have, by law, been archived over at least the last four years.

  4. John Burgess says:

    You know, Bithead, sometimes laws are really more aspirations than something that can actually be accomplished in the real world.

    I was working for the USG when the new law concerning e-mail archiving came down. We sat there wondering how we could recapture e-mail from years (and hard drives) gone by. When the e-mail servers’ drives were reformatted several times and had been overwritten multiple times, it proved impossible to recover the data. So there are holes in the data record, dealing with issues like the Middle East. Some of the missing records were from the WH, others from various intelligence agencies. Somewhere, somebody may have a copy, but you’d have to subpoena all the potential addressees to find it. It’s just not recoverable by State anymore. No malice, unless it’s from maliciously coded software, and however benignly you consider Murphy and his laws.

    Even knowing what the law requires doesn’t mean that it can be achieved. Things do break, they get FUBARed, even without Karl Rove poking pins in a Leahy doll.

    I understand suspicious minds are reluctant to accept the idea of ‘coincidence’ when it comes to the White House, but I don’t lose a lot of sleep over it.

  5. Bithead says:

    Well, as my nick implies, I do this for my living.

    With tapes usually holding 400gb anymore, and the average email being a few hundred k at most… well… trust me; a couple million emails isn’t all that hard to lose. One broken tape is all it takes. I know, having been there myself, often in a legal capacity.

    I don’t think this to be a matter of suspicious minds, I think it to be a matter of cynical people looking for something / anything to use against the party opposite. Opportunists.

    It’s called a witch hunt, John.

    It worked with Scooter Libby, didn’t it?