Illinois Democrat Introduces "COVFEFE Act"

The meaning of the term Covfefe has finally been revealed, at least as interpreted by Illinois Rep. Mike Quigley who moments ago introduced the "COVFEFE" Act, also known as the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement. The bill introduced by the Illinois Democrat seeks to amend the Presidential Records Act to include the term "social media" as a documentary material for preservation in the National Archives, "ensuring additional preservation of presidential communication and statements while promoting government accountability and transparency."

The bill takes it its name from the "gibberish term" which Trump tweeted late one night at the end of May, which stayed on his feed for nearly 6 hours before being deleted. Most people took the tweet to be a typo, although Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the media that the term was used intentionally.

"In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets," said Rep. Quigley. "President Trump's frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented. If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference. Tweets are powerful, and the President must be held accountable for every post."

Quigley continued: "President Trump's tweets frequently make national news and are a topic of everyday conversation, including deciphering the meaning behind his tweet using the previously unheard of term, "covfefe." While his personal account has become the de facto account for government business, it is unclear as to whether or not it would be archived in the same manner as the official @POTUS account under the Presidential Records Act. Another concern relates to President Trump's frequent deletion of tweets. Including social media in the Presidential Records Act ensures that deleted tweets are documented for archival purposes, and makes deleting tweets a violation of the Presidential Records Act, subject to disciplinary action."

As the Hill adds, in January National Archives spokesperson Miriam Kleiman told the AP that Social Media posts would qualify as presidential records, but that statement is not explicitly spelled out in the law.

The White House, Trump surrogates and GOP congressmen have issued differing opinions on how seriously the president's tweets should be taken. But the White House recently clarified that social media should be taken as official communication from the president

 

Last week, Spicer confirmed they should be taken as official presidential statements. 

 

"The president is president of the United States so they are considered official statements by the president of the United States,” he said

Incidentally, Quigley has a thing for acronyms: previously he introduced "The Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness" aka MAR-A-LAGO Act, which would force the president to make his records public. At least we now know how House representatives spend their time when not doing anything... like the past 8 years for example.

Finally, here is a suggestion for Rep. Quigley: come up with a witty acronym for a Bill that authorizes the upcoming bailout of his home state, which in less than three weeks is about to be downgraded to junk by the rating agencies, a first in US history.

Full Quigley press release below:

Quigley Introduces the COVFEFE Act

 

Legislation Expands Presidential Records Act Preservation to Include Social Media

 

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement or "COVFEFE" Act. This bill codifies vital guidance from the National Archives by amending the Presidential Records Act to include the term "social media" as a documentary material, ensuring additional preservation of presidential communication and statements while promoting government accountability and transparency.

 

"In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets," said Rep. Quigley. "President Trump's frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented. If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference. Tweets are powerful, and the President must be held accountable for every post."

 

In 2014, the National Archives released guidance stating its belief that social media merits historical recording. President Trump's unprecedented use of Twitter calls particular attention to this concern. When referencing the use of social media, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has said, "The president is president of the United States so they are considered official statements by the president of the United States."

 

President Trump's tweets frequently make national news and are a topic of everyday conversation, including deciphering the meaning behind his tweet using the previously unheard of term, "covfefe." While his personal account has become the de facto account for government business, it is unclear as to whether or not it would be archived in the same manner as the official @POTUS account under the Presidential Records Act. Another concern relates to President Trump's frequent deletion of tweets. Including social media in the Presidential Records Act ensures that deleted tweets are documented for archival purposes, and makes deleting tweets a violation of the Presidential Records Act, subject to disciplinary action.

 

In Congress, Rep. Quigley is working to combat the Trump Administration's recent efforts to roll back transparency. In March, he introduced the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness (MAR-A-LAGO) Act, a bill that requires the publication of visitor logs to the White House or any other location where President Trump regularly conducts official business, including various Trump Organization properties frequented by the president. Last month, he questioned the Acting Administrator for the General Services Administration (GSA) about the Trump International Hotel lease and possible conflicts of interest.