17 lawmakers honored for social media use

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyLawmakers, celebs honor Tony Bennett with Library of Congress Gershwin Prize Dem senator jokes: 'Moment of weakness' led me to share photo comparing Trump, Obama Leahy presses Trump court nominee over LGBTQ tweets MORE (D-Vt.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDe Blasio headed to Iowa to speak at political fundraiser Yes, spills happen — but pipelines are still the safest way to move oil Why sexual harassment discussions include lawmakers talking about Bill Clinton’s past MORE (I-Vt.) and fourteen other lawmakers were given awards of their use of social media on Monday.

It was the first time the Congressional Management Foundation had given the Gold Mouse Awards for engagement on social media. Typically, the award goes to members of Congress with the best websites.

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According to the nonprofit organization, the legislators use their accounts to further transparency, help out their constituents and keep them informed of their daily work.

 “These legislators not only improve their own standing with their constituents, they benefit the entire Congress,” foundation President Bradford Fitch said in a statement.

Other recipients were Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinStates fill family caregiver void left by Congress Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Dem PAC bullish on Senate chances MORE (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe GOP tax bill will be a health care burden on American families Democrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  GOP campaign committees call on Democrats to return Franken donations MORE (D-Pa.), Mark KirkMark KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R-Ill.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOvernight Cybersecurity: Kushner was contacted about WikiLeaks before election | Tech experts blast Trump's 'extreme vetting' plan | Senate passes defense bill with measure to modernize feds' IT Ensuring that defense agencies will have access to a community of entrepreneurs and innovators Provision to modernize federal IT in compromise defense bill MORE (R-Kan.), as well as Reps. Stephen FincherStephen FincherFormer Tennessee rep enters race for Corker's Senate seat Tennessee Gov. Haslam won't run for Senate Rep. Fincher to retire MORE (R-Tenn.), Tim GriffinTim GriffinFlynn discloses lobbying that may have helped Turkey Tea Party class reassesses record Huckabee's daughter to run '16 campaign MORE (R-Ark.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.) and Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.). Silicon Valley-area lawmakers Reps. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) were also awarded for their work.

The foundation criticized other lawmakers for social media practices that are  “dominated by one-way messages promoting a politician or cause,” instead of truly engaging with their constituents.

“While some legislators are creatively using social media to shine a light on their representational and legislative activities, most are not,” it said in an accompanying report on best ways to use the Web.

“Using online communications tools to demonstrate transparency and accountability isn’t just good policy, it’s good politics,” the foundation added. “Rightly or wrongly, citizens want their elected officials to be accessible in all media: answering their questions; responding to their needs; and reflecting the values of representative democracy.”

Offices nominated themselves for recognition last year, and the accounts were sent to an expert panel for review.

They were judged on interactivity, following expected online conventions, authenticity, avoiding overly partisan remarks and integration with other platforms.

In addition to the social media awards, 70 lawmakers and congressional committees won awards for best congressional websites.