The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has swept the nation, with thousands of videos and more than $31 million in donations (and counting). But all of that good comes with no thanks to the State Department. They think the donation campaign is pretty great, but not for them or their employees.
That message comes from a cable sent out this week that told American ambassadors and high-profile foreign service officers that they are in no way allowed to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because doing so would violate federal ethics rules “preventing the use of public office, such as our Ambassadors, for private gain, no matter how worthy a cause.”
Put aside, for a moment, the fact that the cable appears to indicate that the State Department continues to communicate with its employees using a typewriter made half a century ago.
Basically, the State Department is concerned that participating in the challenge might make it look like high-ranking officials are showing favoritism toward the ALS Association.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge charitable campaign has exploded in recent weeks. It’s at the point—and has been so for a while now—that you can’t check Facebook without seeing 10 people dumping buckets of ice water on their head. (More on what it’s all about here.)
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh did it. So has Mark Wahlberg, Gisele, Oprah, Drake, Jimmy Fallon, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and the staff of Boston.com. The list goes on and on. Even Former President George W. Bush and Ethel Kennedy took the plunge, though not together. But your nation’s ambassadors won’t be. At least not without breaking the rules.