On Line:U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s Web page is located at the fol

CATEGORY: USA Federal Government

AUTHOR: MARTY

On Line:U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s Web page is located at the following address: http://www.senate.gov/~cochran/

Cochran goes on line with Internet site

By Marty Russell

Daily Journal

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran has joined a growing number of elected officials using the Internet to dispense information and allow instant e-mail access to their offices by constituents.

Cochran’s site on the World Wide Web became functional late last week and contains links to many governmental offices and information about popular Washington tourist sites but no mention of political or partisan sites. The Senate Ethics Committee is investigating whether the use of taxpayer funds to support Internet sites precludes the use of those sites to link viewers to such political or partisan organizations such as campaign or party sites.

“My Web site will offer Mississippians a new means to access my official Senate activities and information about Mississippi and our nation’s capital,” Cochran said. “It will enable me to provide information on a wide variety of topics to a larger number of citizens.”

The site contains numerous links under five main headings: Leadership/Committees, Biography, Press Releases/Floor Statements, Welcome to Washington and Mississippi sites.

Leadership/Committees offers information on each of the committees on which Cochran serves as well as his role and duties as Republican Conference chairman in the Senate. Photographs of Cochran at work appear on most of the links and the Leadership/Committees category shows Cochran and Mississippi’s other U.S. senator, Trent Lott, flanking Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Lott serves as majority whip in the Senate.

An extensive biography of Cochran is available under that heading and news releases and a thorough search program to locate any statements by Cochran on the Senate floor are available under that category.

Under the heading of Welcome to Washington, viewers can link to numerous attractions and federal offices in the nation’s capital, including all of the Smithsonian’s museums in the area. Cochran serves on the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents.

The Web page also includes an extensive listing of Mississippi sites including numerous state government offices as well as links to sites such as the National Weather Service office in Jackson for up-to-the-minute weather and radar updates and the home site of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

“The World Wide Web has become a valuable source of information and education and I am pleased to be able to provide this new service to Mississippians,” Cochran said.

Links being eyed

Cochran joins 1st District U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker among Northeast Mississippi’s congressional delegation with Internet sites.

Wicker’s home page went up in early March and contains much of the same information offered on Cochran’s page with some exceptions.

Unlike Cochran’s site, Wicker’s offers links to several conservative groups he said his office often gets requests for information about. They include the Family Research Council, the Heritage Foundation, Empower America, Citizens Against Government Waste and Americans for Tax Reform.

A House committee and the Senate Ethics Committee are investigating whether congressmen who use their Web sites, which are taxpayer funded, to link viewers to overtly partisan or political sites is a conflict of interest.

Several congressmen last week removed links to sites such as the Republican National Committee or Bob Dole’s presidential campaign from their Web pages.

A spokesman for Wicker said the representative was only providing links to non-profit sites and not political or partisan sites although he admitted the sites are decidedly conservative in nature.

“We understand that all the ones listed are 501C3 non-profit, non-partisan organizations as defined by the IRS,” said Wicker spokesman Kyle Steward. “They may be conservative but then so is Mr. Wicker.”

A spokeswoman for Cochran said his page was meant to offer the information needed by constituents and it was developed before the controversy arose over possible conflicts of interest.

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