Home > Internet Usage Policy
Adopted by the Committee on Rules and Administration on July
(Revised December 21, 2005)
U.S. SENATE INTERNET SERVICES USAGE RULES
Policy for Internet Services
A. SCOPE AND RESPONSIBILITY
- Senate Internet Services ("World Wide Web and Electronic mail, BLOGs,
Podcasting, streaming media, etc.") may only be used for official purposes.
The use of Senate Internet Services for personal, promotional, commercial,
or partisan political/campaign purposes is prohibited.
- Members of the Senate, as well as Committee Chairmen and Officers of the
Senate may post to the Internet Servers information files which contain
matter relating to their official business, activities, and duties. All
other offices must request approval from the Committee on Rules and
Administration before posting material on the Internet Information Servers.
- Websites covered by this policy must be located in the SENATE.GOV
- It is the responsibility of each Senator, Committee Chairman (on behalf
of the committee), Officer of the Senate, or office head to oversee the use
of the Internet Services by his or her office and to ensure that the use of
the services is consistent with the requirements established by this policy
and applicable laws and regulations
- Official records may not be placed on the Internet Servers unless
otherwise approved by the Secretary of the Senate and prepared in accordance
with Section 501 of Title 44 of the United States Code. Such records
include, but are not limited to: bills, public laws, committee reports, and
other legislative materials.
B. POSTING OR LINKING TO THE FOLLOWING
MATTER IS PROHIBITED
- Political Matter
a.Matter which specifically solicits political support for the sender
or any other person or political party, or a vote or financial assistance
for any candidate for any political office is prohibited.
b. Matter which mentions a Senator or an employee of a Senator as a
candidate for political office, or which constitutes electioneering, or
which advocates the election or defeat of any individuals, or a political
party is prohibited.
- Personal Matter
a. Matter which by its nature is purely personal and is
unrelated to the official business activities and duties of the sender is
b. Matter which constitutes or includes any article, account, sketch,
narration, or other text laudatory and complimentary of any Senator on a
purely personal or political basis rather than on the basis of performance
of official duties as a Senator is prohibited.
c. Reports of how or when a Senator, the Senator's spouse, or any other
member of the Senator's family spends time other than in the performance
of, or in connection with, the legislative, representative, and other
official functions of such Senator is prohibited.
d. Any transmission expressing holiday greetings from a Senator is
prohibited. This prohibition does not preclude an expression of holiday
greetings at the commencement or conclusion of an otherwise proper
- Promotional Matter
a. The solicitation of funds for any purpose is prohibited.
b. The placement of logos or links used for personal, promotional,
commercial, or partisan political\\campaign purposes is prohibited.
C. RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF INTERNET
- During the 60 day period immediately preceding the date of any primary
or general election (whether regular, special, or runoff) for any national,
state, or local office in which the Senator is a candidate, no Member may
solicit constituent input or inquiries (such as online petitions or opinion
polls or issue alerts) using a Senate Internet Server ("World Wide Web and
Electronic mail, BLOGs, Podcasting, streaming media, etc."), unless the
candidacy of the Senator in such election is uncontested.
- Electronic mail may not be transmitted by a Member during the 60 day
period before the date of the Member's primary or general election unless it
is in response to a “direct inquiry”. Exceptions to this moratorium include
the following: press release distribution to press organizations and email
to perform administrative communication. “Direct inquiries” do not include a
request to be added to a mailing list, subscription list, or other request
to receive future mailings. During the 60 day period, electronic news
letters may not be sent out.
- During the 60 day period immediately before the date of a biennial
general Federal election, no Member may solicit constituent input or
inquiries (such as online petitions or opinion polls, issue alerts or
request to be added to newsletter mailing lists – electronic or otherwise,
on behalf of another Senator who is a candidate for election, unless the
candidacy of the Senator in such election is uncontested.”
- An uncontested candidacy is established when the Rules Committee
receives written certification from the appropriate state official that the
Senator's candidacy may not be contested under state law. Since the
candidacy of a Senator who is running for re-election from a state which
permits write-in votes on elections day without prior registration or other
advance qualification by the candidate may be contested, such a Member is
subject to the above restrictions.
- If a Member is under the restrictions as defined in subtitle C,
paragraph (1), above, the following statement must appear on the homepage:
("Pursuant to Senate policy, newsletters, petitions, opinion polls and issue
alerts and other electronic communications cannot be initiated by this
office for the 60 day period immediately before the date of a primary or
general election."). The words "Senate Policy" must be hypertext linked to
the Internet services policy on the Senate Home Page.
- A Senator's homepage may not refer or be hypertext linked to another
Member's site or electronic mail address without authorization from that
- Any Links to Information not located on a Senate Internet Server must be
identified as a link to a non-Senate entity.
Domains and Names (URL) -- Senate entities must reside exclusively on
SENATE.GOV domains. The URL name for an official Senate Web site located in
the SENATE.GOV domain must:
- Members sites -- contain the Senator's last name.
- Committee sites -- contain the name of the committee.
- Officer sites -- contain the name of the office.
Page last modified December 21, 2005