No new tweets. No links. No photos. Nothing.
That’s because the account (@PaulRyanVP) doesn’t belong to the Wisconsin congressman. It belongs to Mitt Romney’s campaign. And for Ryan to retake his Twitter followers is more complicated than simply nabbing the password.
Though it’s not clear that Ryan would be violating campaign regulations by adopting his own veep handle, lawyers are confused about whether Ryan should go out and grab it anyway. While the political uses of technology have matured, the legal framework around them is still in its infancy.
There are no legally binding rules or precedents governing Twitter or Facebook accounts and simply handing them over to another candidate or party committee could violate the existing laws.
“As the technology has evolved, sometimes the [Federal Election Commission] rules don’t keep up,” said Michael Toner, a campaign finance attorney, who worked for George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign and served on the Federal Election Commission.
“Campaigns are increasingly spending so much money building these entire online cultures,” said GOP social media consultant Vincent Harris. “Campaigns are trying to figure out, especially when they lose, what to do with them.”
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