GOP.gov, who let that happen?

The New York Times recently shared with the world a set of Republican talking points assembled against the Affordable Care Act. I’m not going to address any of the content, because I’d like to keep this blog clear of purely political issues. But I will address one thing – GOP.gov.

Internet Top Level Domains (TLDs) have specific purposes. For example, .mil was set up for the US military, which had a big part to play in creating the internet before Al Gore got involved. The TLD .edu is meant for educational institutions. And .gov is meant for Federal, state, and local governments within the United States.

There are rules, of course, for who gets to use a .gov address. You can find them at the appropriately named dotgov.gov web site. These rules include such items as:

The Gov Internet domain is for the operation of government, not the political, political party, or campaign environment. No campaigning can be done using .gov domains. The Gov Internet domain websites may not be directly linked to or refer to websites created or operated by a campaign or any campaign entity or committee. No political sites or party names or acronyms can be used. Separate websites and e-mail on other top-level domains (TLDs), such as .org, will have to be used for political activity.

Well, that is pretty clear, but let me call out a few sentences for you, dear reader.

The Gov Internet domain is for the operation of government, not the political, political party, or campaign environment. No campaigning can be done using .gov domains. The Gov Internet domain websites may not be directly linked to or refer to websites created or operated by a campaign or any campaign entity or committee. No political sites or party names or acronyms can be used. Separate websites and e-mail on other top-level domains (TLDs), such as .org, will have to be used for political activity.

So it seems to me that site name such as GOP.gov should have been rejected prima facie.

Who is behind GOP.gov? It belongs to the House Republican Conference or House Republican Majority depending on where you look on the site. The question immediately floats to the top of my mind, if the Senate Republican Conference wanted a web site, what domain name would they use? It turns out they got republican.senate.gov. The Democratic Senate Conference is the equally staid democrats.senate.gov, but the Democratic House Caucus is dems.gov.

I’m sorry, but GOP.gov and dems.gov are just wrong. The political circus these sites have become should get booted off of .gov and put on .org, as the policy of the GSA clearly states.

 

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2 thoughts on “GOP.gov, who let that happen?

  1. Hi ML, thanks for the comment. I agree that the presence of GOP.gov is balanced by Dems.gov, the article makes clear that I think both are wrong. In the particular case of GOP.gov, the use of an acronym is a clear violation of the quoted policy. Do you disagree? I also think that the briefing slides referred to by the New York Times article cross the line on campaigning. Thank you again for your thoughts.

  2. No campaigning is done on these party policy sites. Although both are well-designed, they are some of the most boring on the web but provide important information on each party’s Congressional members and issue positions. GOP.gov is balanced with the official Dems.gov, which is also reachable by HouseDems.gov. Your post barely mentions that.

    No contribution solicitations or candidate information is available on these sites – it’s all official information. Conversely, you can find candidate and political info on the parties’ political sites: GOP.com or Democrats.org.

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