EDITORIAL: Tweet this as a teachable moment

2013-07-02T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Tweet this as a teachable moment nwitimes.com
July 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The errant tweet about Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson's campaign offers a good opportunity to discuss ethics in government.

In this case, someone on Lawson's staff — she said she didn't do it — tweeted, "Please follow my campaign @VoteConnie for updates on our 2014 race! Please 'Like' our campaign Facebook page: VoteConnie."

The problem here is that official state resources — in this case, Lawson's Twitter account — shouldn't be used for political gain.

The Indiana Code of Ethics prohibits executive branch officials from engaging in political activity while acting in an official capacity.

The Indiana Democratic Party pounced on this issue after The Times' story brought it to light.

Rather than focus only making political hay, the Democratic Party should take the initiative in arranging for ethical training for state employees. What better way for the party to burnish its reputation than by advancing the cause of good government?

The Shared Ethics Advisory Commission in Northwest Indiana offers training for member units of local government. State government could take a page from the local commission's playbook.

In the old days, everyone expected elected officials to focus on politics. But they are elected to govern, not to play political games. Expectations are changing.

The flap over the Lawson tweet should be a reminder to officeholders and their top aides to keep politics outside the office, including official social media accounts.

Clearly, someone needs to teach Indiana's  officeholders and their top aides how to distinguish between policy and politics.

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