Here’s an odd, semi-amusing story for you.
Via a hard-hitting TLO Investigation, we’ve learned that Oklahoma City’s own U.S. Congressman Steve Russell – the guy who’s up for re-election against Kendra Horn in Tuesday’s election – uses the Internet alias “Regular122” to buy and sell on eBay, post on gun-enthusiast message boards and even edit and micromanage content on his own Wikipedia page – a violation of the website’s editing guidelines.
As we said, it’s an odd and semi-amusing story.
We first learned of the “Regular122” alias while performing a basic Google search of Russell’s personal email. It directed us to an active eBay listing for Iraq Tabuk Rifle Manual:
Steve is quite the pro on Ebay. He has a 100% positive feedback rating, based on over 223 transactions. That’s an impressive achievement. Outside of becoming an Eagle Scout, serving as a military commander and being elected to the United States Congress, it’s probably his career highlight.
The reason Steve is selling Iraq Tabuk Rifle Manuals and other military stuff on the Internet is because he owns Two Rivers Arms Company – a gun manufacturer that specializes in making Iraq Tabuk-style AK-47s and other firearms that “soldiers couldn’t take home.”
Knowing he’s a firearms enthusiast, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Steve uses his “Regular122” handle to comment on various Internet message boards, particularly ones about AKs, historic military aircraft and who-knows-what-else. Here’s his profile page at The AK Forum. Here’s an exchange from AR15.com. And here’s a lengthy thread he started on TheAerodrome.com about a replica WWI biplane he’s building:
Yep, Steve wants to build a Sopwith Camel. That’s cool. I’m sure his dog Snoopy would appreciate it.
In addition to Ebay-selling and message-board-posting, Steve also apparently uses “Regular122” to edit his own Wikipedia page. Not only does that violate the website’s “Conflict of Interest” editing guidelines and provide a rare glimpse of a man obsessed with maintaining and crafting a positive image on a website that’s supposed to be objective and unbiased, but it’s also tacky and weird.
It all got started in 2014. Just a month after Steve Russell announced his candidacy for Congress, “Regular122” – who we’re just going to say is either Steve or someone impersonating Steve – joined Wikipedia and added a nearly 10,000-character biography to a very stock listing for Steve Russell:
Since that date, Regular122 (a.k.a. Steve Russell) has made nearly 100 edits, tweaks and revisions to Steve Russell’s Wikipedia entry. Some are just minor changes to his record or background, while others are deletions of revisions made by other Wikipedia users.
For example, in October of 2015 Steve removed a section about his support of the Keystone Pipeline and backing from the oil and gas industry.
He didn’t like the entry because it “insinuates” that he, like most of our congressional delegation, is controlled by oil and gas:
That’s interesting. According to this recent Oklahoman article, Steve “raised $54,950 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry in 2017 and the first nine months of 2018…” including money from “Devon co-founder Larry Nichols and Nichols’ wife.” Maybe someone should add that fact to Russell’s Wikipedia page?
In June of this year, Russell deleted a line that suggested he criticized President Barack Obama for a speech the former president gave to schoolchildren.
Here’s why Steve axed that one:
Yep, the congressman who’s editing his own Wikipedia page in third person wants his page to “remain neutral.” That’s a good one.
Some of Steve’s revisions are fair. One jokester suggested that Steve received a “13 incher” appendix surgery, which Steve promptly removed:
Steve removed it because the language was inappropriate:
In addition to removing content that he doesn’t like, Steve also adds material. In September of this year, he added a bit that lauded his own bravery.
Those are just a few examples of edits that Steve Russell made to the “neutral” page about himself. You can see all the edits in their egotistical glory here. Or, if you want to see all of Steve’s Wikipedia edits, including ones that he’s made to the 17th Aero Squadron, Francis Peabody Magoun and Harold Albert Kullberg, click here.
As we mentioned, editing your own Wikipedia page is against Wikipedia rules. Should a political candidate violating that rule change your opinion about them? I don’t know. As I said, it’s an odd and semi-amusing story, but at least I know who to contact to make a The Lost Ogle Wikipedia entry.