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And the Mouse Goes to...

If you've ever had to peruse an official congressional Web site for business or pleasure, you know they're a mixed bag. Some are cutting-edge, incorporating blogs, video, podcasts and all the bells and whistles savvy surfers have come to expect. Others are basically a jumble of text and links that are rarely updated.

Periodically, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Congressional Management Foundation hands out its "Gold Mouse Awards" for the best Capitol Hill sites, and the 2007 awards came out today. The press release is here, and the lengthy report can be found here. (Unlike the Golden Globes, these awards do not appear to have been affected by the ongoing writers' strike.)

"Despite some bright spots, overall the quality of congressional Web sites continues to be disappointing," CMF says in its new report. "The most common letter grade earned by congressional Web sites in 2007 was a 'D' -- the same as in 2006. A full 41.6% of sites were substandard (D) or failing (F)."

With a grant from the National Science Foundation, CMF judged sites based on design, interactivity, innovation and a handful of other criteria. In addition to assigning letter grades, CFM also awards medals to the best sites on the Hill; overall, 104 sites received gold, silver or bronze medals in the new report.

Among congressional leaders' sites, House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam's (Fla.) was the only one to strike gold. Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) site scored a silver medal, while House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) won a bronze.

Aside from Putnam, the gold medal breakdown also includes 15 House Democrats, 11 House Republicans, one Senate Democrat, three Senate Republicans, two House committees and three Senate committees.

Disappointingly, the report does not include a detailed list of the worst sites on Capitol Hill, though it observes that far too many sites lack functioning search engines, links to key legislation and other features that would seem like no-brainers.

Do you have nominees for the worst Hill sites, or suggestions for what those awards should be called (i.e. "Gold Rat")? Send them along to Capitol Briefing.

By Ben Pershing  |  January 14, 2008; 9:17 AM ET
Categories:  House , Senate  
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