Several members of Congress and their staff responded this week to BuzzFeed’s report on edits to their Wikipedia pages to remove unflattering information or add large sections of flattering biographical information.
An aide to Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, a Republican, denied that her office had removed that she had been admonished by the House Ethics Committee from her page. A review of edits from the House of Representatives’ shared IP address showed seven edits had been made to Miller’s page since 2006 with two of removing that she had been admonished.
“Rep. Candice Miller does not look at Wikipedia and has never authorized anyone to make any edits,” Miller’s office said in a statement.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, a Democrat, admitted that his office had made the edits to his Wikipedia, saying that reason was to provide accurate information during his reelection.
“In 2010, people who are obviously involved in politics — political people — were going in and editing (the Wikipedia article about me) and putting things in the article that were just not true — things that were negative about me and my record,” Smith said. “We wanted to make sure it was accurate.”
Smith’s office communications director Ayofemi Kirby confirmed that she and a previous communications director had also made edits to Smith’s page.
“If there is an inaccuracy online, or in stories by the press, we do our best to make sure that there are no inaccuracies and clear those up,” she said. “We want to make sure that our office is as transparent as possible, and that’s one of our office’s goals, led by Rep. Smith.”
Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from Colorado, denied that his office had removed from his page that he had said that “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.” The comments came at a fundraiser in May.
“Well I can tell — I can certainly say — that I never touched it and made an alter on it and I never asked anybody else to change it. Everybody in my office has attested to the fact that they haven’t,” Coffman said to local news in Colorado.
When asked if it was inappropriate to remove the incident from his page Coffman said that it was.
“Well, I think so. I think that it is appropriate to have that comment in there. I mean, I don’t know what somebodies motivations were. I mean, I think um, that it’s appropriate to have that comment up there because it was so prevalent in the media” replied Coffman.
A spokesman for Coffman also said that the staff had been asked if they made the edit.
Colorado Democratic State Representative Joe Miklosi, Coffman’s opponent in the
newly-redrawn 6th Congressional District hit Coffman for the alleged edit.
“No matter how much he tries to scrub the truth off the Internet, he can’t hide his extreme record,” Miklosi said Wednesday. “No amount of self-editing can hide the fact that Congressman Mike Coffman is Colorado’s own version of Rush Limbaugh.”