June 20, 2012

Collins staffer fired after rogue tweet

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – A junior staffer with access to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ Twitter account was fired Wednesday for firing off a missive about Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Luke Welch, a Sanford native who was listed as the new media and press assistant for Collins, was dismissed from his post after the tweet, according to Collins’ spokesman Kevin Kelley.

The tweet came from Collins’ official account. It read, "Good ol' @SenSanders is always entertaining. Not a huge fan. I'll give him this, the genetically modified food label makes sense."

The inclusion of “@SenSanders” in the tweet means that it was pushed to Sanders’ Twitter account.

The account administrator quickly deleted the tweet, but not before it was re-broadcast by several followers of Collins' feed, including several national news outlets.

Kelley said Welch had access to Collins' account and "accidentally tweeted something that the Senator would never say and which does not reflect her views."

"Senator Collins' office has a zero-tolerance policy for this type of activity," Kelley said. "We deeply regret this error."

The tweet was also caught, in perpetuity, on Politwoops, a program run by the non-profit Sunlight Foundation that collects and stores the deleted tweets of members of congress and presidential candidates.

Welch, from his personal Twitter account, said the tweet was “posted in error.” Sanders’ office declined to comment.

Welch graduated from Sanford High School in 2006 and is a graduate from the University of Southern Maine.

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