Okay, the deal is that current Congressional rules actually confuse them from talking to us via the Net, which is required for participatory, grassroots democracy. Confusion over what is actually allowed/prohibited leads many Hill staffers to either break rules or not use new Net technologies.
The folks at Sunlight Foundation just started Let Our Congress Tweet which urges Congress to revise their guidelines so they can get serious about talking directly to their constituents:
Sunlight is launching a new campaign, Let Our Congress Tweet, to urge Congress to make clear guidelines that do not inhibit lawmakers from freely interacting with constituents where they already go online to share ideas-through Web services like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.
Current congressional rules restrict what kinds of activities lawmakers can engage in online. That means those members of Congress who embed YouTube videos of congressional hearings on their Web sites do so in violation of these rules.
Congress is right now reconsidering those rules, and we want to send a clear message that they should not write new rules that prevent lawmakers from using the same social networks and Web sites that many people already use.
Disclaimer: since they do big stuff like this, I'm on the board of Sunlight.
Follow Craig Newmark on Twitter: www.twitter.com/craignewmark