Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Massachusetts Attorney General's Office is on Twitter, Sending out Email Replies

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office is on Twitter.

They'll make posts, but they won't respond via twitter as a matter of policy.

Web Communications Policies - Twitter:
"The AGO’s use of Twitter is intended as one-way communication with any who elect to watch or follow our Twitter feed."
I posted:
@MassAGO Welcome to twitter. Can we get an update on the Massachusets Wine Bill?
They replied via email:
Please see our policies regarding the Mass AGO’s use of Twitter.

Specifically, “The AGO will not respond via Twitter to press inquiries, consumer complaints, or other constituent matters. For instructions on appropriate methods for contacting the Office, please visit the Contact Us page of the AGO website”

So if you have questions on policy or the like, please feel free to send an e-mail or contact the press office.

Thanks for following us on Twitter.
So I emailed in my question:
What's the status of the Wine Bill?
They responded via email:
Dear Mr. Garfield,

Thank you for contacting the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley relative to the appeal by the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission. By statute, the role of the Attorney General’s Government Bureau is to represent state agencies—in this case the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC)—and to defend a statute that was passed by the Legislature. When a statue that has passed and is presumed to be constitutional is overturned by a single District Court judge, it is customary that the Attorney General’s Office bring an appeal so that a panel of federal Appeals Court judges may fully vet the analysis of that single lower judge. Such review would include a legal analysis of the admissibility of the evidence at hand and the reasoning upon which the single judge based his or her decision. While we respect Judge Zobel’s decision, we feel that it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth to have a full judicial review on this matter.

We always appreciate the effort that residents take to let us know their positions on issues like that and thank you for taking the time to contact our office.

Community Information and Education Division


  1. Michael Bailey4:41 PM

    Whew! Well, Good thing that people voted for change - just think how that would have went under the previous leadership.


  2. social media tools like twitter have a long way to go to be considered compliant for a whole host of legal, privacy and business reasons. Just got back from a discussion lead by David Murray, General Counsel of the Office of Consumer Affairs on 93H. The right of MA citizens to have their personal information be appropriately handled by entities that do business in the state is being served. How businesses will handle it remains to be seen. As I understand it, the AG is quite wise in their use of Twitter.

  3. "We're here to represent the people... just don't make us talk to them."

  4. Yes, the AG's office is under some unique constraints related to its role as the chief prosecutorial office in the state.

    However, Massachusetts attorneys general are also elected officials AND stick their noses in public-policy issues all the time that have absolutely nothing to do with specific criminal (or even civil) cases.

    Maybe they need to have two policies: One dealing with specific cases before the courts (No answering) and one dealing with public-policy issues (seems kind of stupid they will respond to Steve in e-mail but not on Twitter on the wine issue).