Sunday June 03, 2012 | 10:17 AM

The Sunlight Foundation, a government transparency organization, has launched a new service that tracks and publishes the tweets deleted by members of congress (or more likely, their staffers).

The site, Politwoops, stores the 140-character missives if a member of congress or presidential candidate has second thoughts and attempts to send it to the trash. Politwoops then publishes the tweets on its site. The site is search-able and some more prominent public figures have been assigned RSS feeds. 

The site has captured some controversial tweets, including one by U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who asked, "Was Obama born in America?"

So far, Maine's congressional delegation has avoided such situations. U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, doesn't have any deleted tweets. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, has three that appear to be linked to a third party service that automatically announces how many followers and re-tweets the congresswoman has accumulated. 

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has several deleted missives of varying content. One, which may have been intended to be a direct message -- Twitter's private messaging service -- contains a cell phone number. A reverse look-up shows the number is a private line based in Augusta. 

Collins' account also contains a few deleted statements related to the current scandal involving the U.S. Secret Service, including, "2 of the participants were supervisors - one with 22 years of service and the other with 21 ... Not a 1 time incident."

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, has deleted 11 tweets. Several link back to press releases on the congressman's website that explain his votes, while others announced his participation in a veterans event or parade.

Michaud deleted one tweet that announced his support for the bipartisan seating at last year's State of the Union address. The message gave a shout-out to the group No Labels, an organization championing bipartisanship. 

Politwoops has received national press and some members of congress have already figured out a way to manipulate the service to amplify their message. A story in Roll Call reported that U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., purposely deleted tweets to get more attention, including this one: "If you think twitter mistakes on #politwoops are bad, just wait until you see the regulatory mistakes of the Obama Administration!"


About the Author

Subscribe to the
Capitol Ticker RSS

Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.

Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Subscribe to the
Capitol Ticker RSS

Previous entries

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013


October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.