Advocacy groups hoping Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen takes up their cause have hijacked her Facebook page, posting messages to urge her to back a bill to curb the trade in conflict minerals from the Congo.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wa., and Frank Wolf, R-Va., is aimed to stopping the trade in minerals McDermott says is "sustaining a brutal war of unfathomable atrocities." The minerals often end up in cell phones and other electronics -- the bill would commission a map overlaying areas of conflict with areas rich in minerals, so refiners would know which mines are likely to fund conflict. It also requires importers of potential conflict goods to certify whether or not their imports contain conflict minerals.
Ros-Lehtinen, an enthusiastic Twitterer and Facebook user who is the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the new outreach, saying she was "deeply grateful when constituents and folks who care deeply about an issue use every avenue to communicate their opinions with me.
"I fully agree that we need to take concrete steps to address this illegal trade that helps fund and fuel the conflict in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo," she said. "I’m currently studying this bill and have given it my fullest attention. I’ve reached out to my bipartisan colleagues toward an agreement that will help move this bill to the floor as quickly as possible. I have contacted experts to give me feedback. Meanwhile, keep those Facebook comments coming. They mean a lot to me."