This week, Pennsylvania Attorney General (and candidate for Governor) Tom Corbett issued a subpoena to force Twitter to reveal the identities of two members who have been highly critical of him. The official line from the AG office is that the identity could be relevant to an ongoing criminal case:
A spokesman for Mr. Corbett, Kevin Harley, said the subpoena had nothing to do with the criticism of the attorney general… He said the subpoena was related to a criminal case concerning Brett Cott, a former political aide convicted in a political scandal known as Bonusgate. That long-running investigation concerns bonuses paid to legislative staff members and whether they were illegally related to political campaign work.
For Corbett’s sake, I hope this isn’t simply an attempt to shut up anonymous critics, because it’s hard to think of a less effective way to do it. Consider that, between them both, the accounts probably have no more than 1,000 unique followers, and that comes after a round of national press coverage that has surely inflated those totals. Everything Corbett has done has only driven more eyeballs their way. And any type of censorship – or perceived censorship – of political speech tends to be a bad issue for a candidate.