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Carlos Curbelo blocks Democratic operatives on Twitter

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@alextdaugherty 

Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo has a habit of blocking critical voices on Twitter. 

Curbelo has blocked at least seven Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffers from his official or personal accounts, according to DCCC spokesman Cole Leiter. This comes after local progressive activist Tomas Kennedy was blocked by Curbelo's personal account in August after pointing out that the second-term congressman does not live in Florida's 26th district. Curbelo lived in the 26th district until the lines were redrawn in 2015 and members of Congress are not required to live in the districts they represent.

Leiter said that none of the seven accounts that were blocked are Curbelo's South Florida constituents.

Curbelo's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

Curbelo's blocking habits mirror President Donald Trump, who has blocked many advocacy groups and constituents on the social media platform. Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine was sued last year by a local radio host for blocking people on Facebook and Twitter. 

Trump is also the subject of a lawsuit by Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University over blocking people on Twitter. This week, Trump admitted that he blocks people on Twitter as part of a process in the lawsuit where both sides agree to a set of facts. 

Alice Visocchi, a researcher with the DCCC, was blocked by Curbelo after asking him a sarcastic question about his vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, which repealed parts of Obamacare.

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In July, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that a politician committed "a cardinal sin under the First Amendment" after blocking a constituent on Facebook.  The politician argued that the page was personal but the judge ruled that the politician was using the account as a public official because it asked for comments from constituents. 

Curbelo's personal account, @carloscurbelo, is mostly links to news articles and his work as a member of Congress. His official account, @repcurbelo, includes information that assists constituents. On Thursday, his official account included an office phone number so that constituents recovering from Hurricane Irma could receive assistance in applying for a Small Business Administration loan.

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