Saturday, March 11, 2017

Quick Twitter Reaction to Jobs Report May Break a Rule

The enthusiastic reaction of Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, was understandable on Friday when the Labor Department reported a gain of 235,000 jobs. “Great news for American workers,” he proclaimed on Twitter 22 minutes after the Labor Department release, “in first report for @POTUS Trump.”

Mr. Spicer was probably just following President Trump’s lead. At 8:41 a.m., 11 minutes after the report’s 8:30 release, Trump reposted a Twitter message sent by the Conservative Website Drudge Report that linked to a news report with the comment “GREAT AGAIN: +235,000.”

But those messages on Twitter apparently violate a Federal Rule barring Executive Branch employees from Publicly Commenting on Principal Economic Indicators for at least One Hour after the Official release Time.

Announced in the Federal Register on Sept. 25th, 1985, when Ronald Reagan was President, the rule was adopted “to preserve the distinction between the policy-neutral release of data by statistical agencies and their interpretation by policy officials,” and to avoid affecting “financial and commodity markets,” according to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, part of the Office of Management and Budget.

1985 Rule on Release of Information

“All employees of the executive branch who receive prerelease distribution of information and data estimates as authorized above are responsible for assuring that there is no release prior to the official release time. Except for members of the staff of the agency issuing the principal economic indicator who have been designated by the agency head to provide technical explanations of the data, employees of the executive branch shall not comment publicly on the data until at least one hour after the official release time.”

The Rule as published in the Federal Register but does not include a Penalty for Violation. The White House receives the jobs data through the Council of Economic Advisers on Thursday afternoon, before its Friday release.

Jason Furman, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in President Obama’s second term, said by email on Friday: “The interpretation of our administration (like Clinton and Bush) was that this applied to POTUS. There were times they wanted Obama to comment, his flight or whatever was taking off at 9:20 and they would hold off until 9:30 so he could comment then.”

Spicer said that while “I understand the rule,” he felt his post had caused no market disruption because the news was already out. “I apologize if we were a little excited, and we’re so excited to see so many Americans back to work,” he added.

Part of this Administration Rule breaking, is the results of the Vice-President Pence deciding this Administration Staff, new to the way Government works, didn't need the $1 million Ethics Course.

Do you remember that Trump, during the 2016 Presidential Campaign, denounced the supposed deflated Jobs Report Unemployment numbers, that know are “Great news for American workers,”.

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