17 lawmakers honored for social media use

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCongress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (D-Vt.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says he won't legalize marijuana because it may be a 'gateway drug' Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Bernie Sanders tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan If we want to save earth, we need to change how we eat 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 BaldwinIt's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems unveil impeachment measure; Vindman splits GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems shift strategy on impeachment vote MORE (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyNew ObamaCare enrollment period faces Trump headwinds Scrap House defense authorization provision benefitting Russia Here are the Senate Democrats backing a Trump impeachment inquiry over Ukraine call MORE (D-Pa.), Mark KirkMark Steven KirkWhy Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR Bottom Line MORE (R-Ill.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMicrosoft embraces California law, shaking up privacy debate It's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number Overnight Defense: Top diplomat changes testimony to indicate quid pro quo | Dem offers measure on Turkish human rights abuses in Syria | Warren offers plan to address veteran suicide rates MORE (R-Kan.), as well as Reps. Stephen FincherStephen Lee FincherTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP MORE (R-Tenn.), Tim GriffinJohn (Tim) Timothy 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.