(This post has been updated.)
The State Department, the Pentagon and the U.S. House informed their diplomats, soldiers and lawmakers respectively this week that they may not participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS research.
The Associated Press obtained a cable sent to embassies around the world alerting them that accepting the challenge was against ethics rules, which do not allow government officials to use their taxpayer-funded office for private gain “no matter how worthy a cause.”
The AP tweeted a copy of the cable here:
— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) August 21, 2014
We know one ambassador who already took the challenge — Kristie Kenney, the U.S. ambassador to Thailand. But she didn’t specifically say she was supporting ALS, and she urged people to make a donation to any charity, so that may be within the rules:
The Department of Defense’s Office of General Counsel has also it appears put the kibosh on military officials taking the challenge. The Military Times reports that Pentagon service members and employees “cannot have ice dumped on them while in uniform — including civilian uniforms.”
House members also found out this week that they cannot take part in any public icing. Politico reported Tuesday that an e-mail was sent from the House Administration Committee saying: “No doubt, this is for an admirable cause. There is a prohibition in the Members Handbook and in the Ethics Manual on the use of official resources for the promotion or benefit of any private charitable cause.”
We’ve reached out to the Senate to see if the same rules apply to the senators.
Several members of Congress had to then delete tweets that showed them accepting the challenge. Sunlight Foundation’s Politwoops site, which archives deleted tweets, has many examples: