17 lawmakers honored for social media use

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Senate heads toward internet surveillance fight MORE (D-Vt.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersJudd Gregg: The lost candidate Sanders press secretary leaves campaign RNC strategizes against Clinton VP contenders 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 BaldwinOvernight Finance: Wall Street awaits Brexit result | Clinton touts biz support | New threat to Puerto Rico bill? | Dodd, Frank hit back Dem hopeful that Congress will eliminate tax break for investment fund managers Congress should stop government hacking and protect the Fourth Amendment MORE (D-Wis.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalElizabeth Warren joins House Dems' sit-in Democrats stage sit-in on House floor to push for gun vote Dems blast Republicans after failed gun votes MORE (D-Conn.), Bob CaseyBob CaseyThe Hill's 12:30 Report Dems launch new effort on guns after Orlando carnage New bill would ban gun sales to those convicted of hate crimes MORE (D-Pa.), Mark KirkMark KirkDuckworth settles retaliation lawsuit The Trail 2016: Berning embers Senate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game MORE (R-Ill.) and Jerry MoranJerry MoranSenate panel approves lifting Cuba travel ban Boost in Afghan visas blocked in Senate Senate contradicts itself on Gitmo MORE (R-Kan.), as well as Reps. Stephen FincherStephen FincherRep. Fincher to retire Export-Import Bank takes step toward renewal Transportation deal includes Ex-Im renewal MORE (R-Tenn.), Tim GriffinTim GriffinTea Party class reassesses record Huckabee's daughter to run '16 campaign Lawmakers seek Purple Heart for victims of Little Rock shooting 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.