10 Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About The US Congress

They Order Their Staff To Edit Wikipedia

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Staff at the Capitol are fond of editing the Wikipedia pages of the congressmen they work for. In 2014, Wikipedia even banned Congress IPs from making edits on the site for ten days. Wikipedia cannot confirm the precise origins of the edits because the whole Capitol Building has a single IP address.

And did we mention that the editing is paid for by taxpayer money?

Staff of congressmen will usually edit the pages of their bosses to add favorable information and remove true but negative information. In one notable incident, Senator Conrad Burns’s page was edited to remove the fact that he once called Arabs “ragheads” in 1999. Whoever modified the page also added that the senator was a “voice for the farmer.” CONSERVATIVE VIEW CONSERVATIVE VIEW CONSERVATIVE VIEW CONSERVATIVE VIEW

In 2006, it was reported that the staff at Representative Marty Meehan’s office had edited Meehan’s page to remove the fact that he’d promised to run for office no more than four times. They also added favorable information, like the fact that he had a “fiscally conservative voting record.”

The pages of rival congressmen are not spared, either. Staff will often add unfavorable and sometimes untrue information to the pages of their bosses’ rivals. Once in the 2000s, somebody edited Representative Eric Cantor’s page to claim he smelled like cow poop.

Wikipedia edits from Congress made the news again in 2014 after the pages of several political figures and incidents were tampered with. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was called an “alien lizard who eats Mexican babies.” Nataliya Vitrenko, a Ukrainian politician, was accused of being a Russian agent, and Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of being a Cuban agent. Cuba was also accused of starting the Moon landing conspiracy theories. Crazy edits like this are what led to the above-mentioned ban on edits from the Capitol Building.

The news blog Mediaite was also said to be a “sexist transphobic” site that “automatically assumes that someone is male without any evidence.” The blog was probably targeted because it had exposed the fact that congressmen and their staff were fond of editing Wikipedia.

Only 21 Congressmen Attended Its First Sitting

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The United States Congress had a turbulent beginning. Many Americans, including the congressmen themselves, had low opinions of the congress.

The US Congress sat for the first time on March 4, 1789. At the time, they met at Federal Hall in New York. Only 21 congressmen (eight senators and 13 representatives) out of 59 were present. The rest could not attend because they were sick, were delayed by the weather, or were busy with their businesses. A few states also had yet to hold elections. CONSERVATIVE VIEW CONSERVATIVE VIEW CONSERVATIVE VIEW CONSERVATIVE VIEW

James Madison, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, was ten days late at the time he arrived on March 14. Interestingly, most congressmen were still missing even then. By April 1, only 29 of 59 members had arrived. Nevertheless, Congress went on to count the electoral votes that saw George Washington defeat John Adams to become president.

Congress was still ineffective during Washington’s presidency. John Adams, the vice president of the United States and president of the senate, worsened the situation. Adams spent a huge chunk of his time fighting the senators. He was bitter that he didn’t get enough votes from the electoral college to become president.

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