Some Congressional staff edits to Wikipedia (that is, changes to Wikipedia by staff of the United States Congress that directly involved their employees or their opponents) have created controversy, notably in the early to mid-2006 timeframe. Several such instances, such as those involving Marty Meehan, Norm Coleman, Conrad Burns, Susan Collins, and Joe Biden, received significant media attention. Others, such as those involving Gil Gutknecht, were reported but received less widespread coverage.
Biographical information on various politicians was edited by their own staff to remove undesirable information (including pejorative statements quoted, or broken campaign promises), add favorable information or "glowing" tributes, add negative information to opponents' biographies, or replace the article in part or whole by staff authored biographies.
"Matt Vogel, Meehan's chief of staff, said that he had authorized an intern in July to replace existing Wikipedia content with a staff-written biography of the lawmaker."
Further investigation by Wikipedia members discovered well over a thousand edits by IP addresses allocated to the US House of Representatives and Senate. Most of the edits were considered to show good faith by Wikipedia editors. A minority of edits were considered improper. At least one of the addresses involved was blocked from further editing.
Mische stated: "What's to stop someone from writing in that Norm Coleman was 7 feet 10 inches, with green hair and one eye smack dab in the middle of his head? That's about as silly as this gets ... When you put 'edia' in there, it makes it sound as if this is a benign, objective piece of information."
Gutknecht's office used the account "Gutknecht01" for the first edits on July 24; that account was then notified (via its talk page) of Wikipedia policies against self-editing. For the second set of edits on August 16, his office used an anonymous Congressional IP address.
The man behind Norm Coleman; With political pit bull Erich Mische at his side, Norm Coleman won St. Paul mayoral elections under two different party banners. The tenacious aide could be a key player in a race for governor.(NEWS)
Jan 06, 1998; Published 01/07/98: This article incorrectly said Kevin Chandler unseated state Sen. Fritz Knaak of White Bear Lake in 1990....