- Rep. Mike Lawler of New York was banned from Wikipedia for self-editing his page, violating the site’s conflict of interest policy.
- Despite a warning from site administrators, Lawler continued to edit his page, leading to the ban.
- Despite the controversy, Lawler is seen as a rising GOP star, with his political career being pivotal to the Republican majority in the House.
In an unprecedented move, Wikipedia recently banned Republican Representative Mike Lawler of New York for consistently violating its policy regarding self-editing.
Rep. Lawler, an alumnus of Manhattan College, is currently marked as a ‘notable alumnus’ on the college’s Wikipedia page – an honor which, according to site records, appears to be self-bestowed.
Lawler, a former state lawmaker who upset Democratic campaign chief Sean Patrick Maloney last year, has made 26 edits to his own Wikipedia page.
These alterations included, among others, adding electoral statistics from his victory in 2020, updating his resume, and changing his name from “Mike Lawler” to “Michael V. Lawler.”
This self-editing activity resulted in an outright ban after Lawler ignored a warning from site administrators, which highlighted a potential conflict of interest.
“Editors with a conflict of interest may be unduly influenced by their connection to the topic,” the warning notice read.
According to Lawler’s spokesperson, Nate Soule, the ban was ultimately due to Lawler’s failure to verify his identity.
The lawmaker has since requested that the ban on his account be lifted, a request that Wikipedia has since complied with.
Despite this recent controversy, Lawler, a staunch ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, is considered a rising star in the GOP ranks.
His victory in a challenging race in 2022 was pivotal to Republicans taking the majority in the House.
With the upcoming election cycle, Lawler, one of 18 Republicans representing districts Joe Biden won in 2020, is set to be a key target for Democrats.