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A series of tweets by White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Friday commenting on strong February job creation figures may have run afoul of federal guidance barring most officials from commenting on key economic data within an hour of its release.
The rule, Statistical Policy Directive Number 3, is meant to "preserve the distinction between the policy-neutral release of data by statistical agencies and their interpretation by policy officials," the White House budget office explained when it published the most recent version in September 1985.
Jason Furman, who led President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, noted on Twitter that the rule had been in place for decades: "Everyone has followed it. Until now."
Asked about the tweets at a White House news briefing, Spicer said the posts simply repeated public information and did not provide any analysis that could have disrupted markets.
"We're excited to see so many Americans back to work," he said. "So, I apologize if we were a little excited."