I'm working on a project where this issue has relevancy and am having difficulty finding the specific rules for the US House of Representatives that are behind the following assertion:

"Though Congressional offices can’t employ political platforms or utilize any campaign datasets (e.g., donor amounts, election histories, etc.) while doing outreach campaigns..."1

Unfortunately I wasn't able to find anything on major search engines or this stack exchange after searching--their is a lot of results on campaign finance and campaign data collection, but not much about an elected official's inability to use that data once in office.

1 Answer 1


No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

14th Amendment (second sentence)

It's all well and good when we think of "a government outreach" as notifying you not to put grease down your drain pipes (as I did once door-to-door), but once the outreach makes a decision, any decision, based on such specifically political information as donations and voting, it becomes immediately clear that the outreach is not treating citizens equally under the law.

This is covered, generally, under anti-discrimination laws. The website LegalMatch.com provides a nice summary of this here.

  • Thanks Elliot (I upvoted but my karma on here is too low for it to show). I'm thinking about this problem in the context of candidates building up large social media followings and continuing to communicate with those followers once in office (esp. if it were possible to ensure those followers were constituents). Would that situation violate the laws covering the outreach/dataset scenario (it seems prevalent today)?
    – Alex
    Feb 19, 2019 at 21:49
  • 1
    @Alex It's not entirely decided case law, but based on the decision in Knight First Amendment Institute v Trump, the case brought against POTUS for blocking users on twitter from his accounts, where the ruling stated that users could not be blocked from official public government accounts, the wording of the ruling would indicate it would also apply to congressmen. However, it's possible that a congressman could create a public account for use while in office to avoid having their candidate account be considered a public forum. The ruling could also be overturned on appeal. Feb 20, 2019 at 5:06

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