State Department Throws Cold Water on Ice Bucket Challenge

Sarah Scully/GovExec.com file photo

The State Department has reportedly banned diplomats from participating in theubiquitous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. According to the Associated Press, earlier this week, lawyers in Foggy Bottom sent out a cable outlining while it's not cool to participate in this summer's trendiest goodwill gesture.

In a cable sent this week to all U.S. diplomatic missions, the lawyers say it runs afoul of federal ethics rules barring officials from using public office for private gain "no matter how worthy the cause."

The memo added: "We sincerely wish the ALS Association continued success in its ice bucket campaign, and in its fight against Lou Gehrig's disease."

At least one ambassador has broken the rule already. It was (partisans, get ready) Dan Shapiro, the American ambassador to Israel. As the AP reported, by the time he challenged U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, the cable had gone out.

Meanwhile, as we noted earlier, lawmakers are going hogwild with the Ice Bucket Challenge including "at least 18 members of Congress who've done the ice bucket challenge also voted to cut funding to the National Institute of Health through the Budget Control Act of 2011."

So if you know any ambassadors out there that you've been dying to see momentarily humbled, be prepared for disappointment. They've now got diplomatic immunity.

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