Former President George W. Bush might have accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge to help raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. But, that does not mean U.S. diplomats will participate.
In fact, they have been banned from doing so, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Lawyers at the State Department forbid American ambassadors and other high-profile Foreign Service officers from participating in the social media phenomenon for ethical reasons, they said.
“There are firmly established rules preventing the use of public office, such as our ambassadors, for private gain, no matter how worthy a cause,” the cable said. “Thus, high-ranking State Department officials are unfortunately unable to participate in the ice bucket challenge. We sincerely wish the ALS Association continued success in its ice bucket campaign, and in its fight against Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
The Committee on House Administration had sent out a similar statement on Tuesday and said it would be a violation of House rules if members participated in the viral sensation, Politico wrote.
“No doubt, this is for an admirable cause. There is a prohibition in the Members Handbook and in the Ethics Manual on the use of official resources for the promotion or benefit of any private charitable cause,” the Franking Commission warned House members in an email Tuesday.
Lawyers at the State Department complimented the ALS Association on the success of its ice bucket challenge, but the choice to donate to a charity is a personal decision, AP wrote.
President Barack Obama too did not drench himself with ice water for the ALS foundation, but he did donate an undisclosed amount of money, according to AP. Ethel Kennedy, 86, nominated the president for the challenge before she poured a bucket of ice water on herself.
Celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Justin Bieber have all dumped buckets of ice water on their heads for the cause. Last year, the cause earned $19.4 million, but since the social media craze it has received more than $40 million in donations. In one day, the association earned $8.6 million.
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