Wikipedia:Congressional staffer edits

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On January 27 2006, the Lowell Sun of Massachusetts published an article entitled "Rewriting history under the dome". This story unveiled the editing by Congressional staff members of Congressman Marty Meehan's Wikipedia entry.

"Matt Vogel, Meehan's chief of staff, said he authorized an intern in July to replace existing Wikipedia content with a staff-written biography of the lawmaker."

Further investigation by Wikipedia members discovered well over a thousand edits by IP addresses allocated to the US House of Representatives and Senate. These edits had, among others, added libelous statements, removed content with malice, added childish insults, and violated Wikipedia Policy. This has resulted in the blocking of at least two of the IP addresses and the opening of a request for comments page.

Review of Edits[edit]

Key:

G - represents good faith contributors
T - represents test editors
P - represents POV (point of view) pushers
V - represents vandals

United States Congress[edit]

United States House of Representatives[edit]

Range: 143.228.0.0/16[edit]

This list contains 1 IP that originated from this range. This list is complete.

Range: 143.231.0.0/16[edit]

This list contains 2 IPs that originated from this range.

- Already blocked. The original IP address, possibly used by staff of Congressman Meehan and possibly other House of Representatives staff members, registering over 1000 edits over hundreds of articles.

The block was lifted January 30, 2006. A new block for additional vandalism was enforced for three hours February 1, 2006 at 14:59.
A further block for "linkspamming after many warnings" was enforced for three hours on April 10, 2007 at 15:59.

- Repeatedly blocked. This IP address has been repeatedly blocked in response to abuse of editing privileges.

Recently, the account was blocked for one day on 16 July 2014.
The account was subsequently blocked for ten days on 24 July 2014.
The same account was blocked yet again, this time for a month, on 20 August 2014.

Partial list of House edits[edit]

Other politicians and political articles edited with House IP Addresses are:

Potential House staffers involved[edit]

as represented in the entry saying "I spoke with Mr. Crane last week and he was never a staff member to then former VP Richard Nixon."
  • Chris Taylor, Assistant Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House
as represented in this entry
  • "Noah," staff member to Jim Ramstad (who someone believes is "the best ever")
as represented in this entry
  • Philip Schmidt (communications director for Congressman Jose E. Serrano)
as represented in this entry, someone believes "He's one hell of a model American."
  • Laurent Crenshaw, Former Deputy Press Secretary to the House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-49).
as represented in this entry, someone added him to the list of Famous alumni of Stanford University.
  • Nick Culp, staff assistant to Fred Upton
as represented in this entry, with someone saying he "is the best looking employee in all of Congress."

Congressman Meehan's response[edit]

Congressman Marty Meehan has responded to the January 27 2006, the Lowell Sun of Massachusetts article [1]:

Yesterday's story, "Rewriting history under the dome," accurately reported that in July of 2005 an intern in my office responsible for updating my biography also updated my online Wikipedia entry. I did not know that this change was being made at the time and was only made aware of it yesterday when informed that The Sun had inquired about it. Though the actual time spent on this issue amounted to 11 minutes, according to server logs, I do not consider it time well spent or approve of it in any way.
Part of being an elected official is to be regularly commented on, praised, and criticized on the Web. For example, one of the many anonymous users who have edited my own Wikipedia entry also updated Sen. Tom Daschle's entry by adding that Daschle is a "professional hack" and that "his brain was significantly altered" after his office was targeted by terrorists in the anthrax attacks on the Capitol in 2001. This is a predictable and unavoidable part of being in public life and, tempting as it may be to get involved, we should not. The Internet is a place for the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions. It was a waste of energy and an error in judgment on the part of my staff to have allowed any time to be spent on updating my Wikipedia entry. I thank The Sun for bringing it to my attention.'
MARTY MEEHAN U.S. Representative

United States Senate[edit]

Range: 156.33.0.0/16[edit]

This list contains 175 IPs that originated from this range and edited Wikipedia. This list is complete. One IP is included that had all its edits deleted.

Appropriate Congressional edit process[edit]

  • Emily Lawrimore Communications Director Congressman Joe Wilson
as represented by her entry creating a talk page for Joe Wilson, listing a request for someone to "update his bio with information from the following official bio too?"
Important note from Jimbo: this was an 'excellent' edit to a Talk page, after this staffer emailed me to ask about the appropriate way to request an update to Wikipedia. I suggested that she post information to the talk page, and she did so. After she did so, she blanked herself and emailed me again, essentially not REALLY sure this was ok. Her actions were 100% perfect in every respect, treating us appropriately. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jimbo Wales (talkcontribs)

Other US Government[edit]

Central Intelligence Agency[edit]

Range: 198.81.128.0/18[edit]

This list contains 3 IPs that originated from this range. This list is complete.

United States Department of Justice[edit]

Range: 149.101.0.0/16[edit]

This list contains 15 IPs that originated from this range. This list is complete. (2/9)

Navy/Marines in Pensacola[edit]

Range: 138.162.0.0/16[edit]

This list contains 3 IPs that originated from this range. This list is complete.