Accusations target Thad Cochran and staffer's travel habits - - The News for South Mississippi

Accusations target Thad Cochran and staffer's travel habits

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Attacks are still being launched with less than a month to go until the Republican primaries. This time the target is on Senator Thad Cochran and one of his staffers. Cochran is under fire for his travel habits.

"I am outraged and angry at the way he flies his assistant all over the world," said Tea Party member Janet Thomas.

The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund which has endorsed Cochran's opponent Chris McDaniel held a press conference Wednesday to voice concerns. They were sparked by a report on the conservative site Breitbart. It raises questions about Cochran's executive assistant Kay Webber going with him on the trips.

"This is about the misuse of taxpayer funds," explained Kevin Broughton, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund communications director.

The public records show Webber went with Cochran on 33 trips to 42 different countries.

At the center of concern for Tea Party members at the press conference, was Kay Webber's qualifications.

When asked if it was Webber's title that sparked concern, Broughton replied, "She has no legislative responsibility."

We took the questions straight to Cochran's campaign.

"She's absolutely qualified," said Cochran's campaign communication director. "It's a sexist, offensive accusation to make."

When asked about protocol, Senator Roger Wicker's office said "it would be unusual for staff not to travel with senior members of Congress."

Kay Weber has worked for Cochran for 33 years as his executive assistant.

"There's no point in getting hung up on the title," said Russell. "Again, she's the second most senior member in his office. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience across a whole range of things. I mean, anyone who knows Senator Cochran's office knows that Kay Webber is a very vital member of that office."

As for the way taxpayer money is spent, Russell says it's not a matter of opinion.

"The fact of the matter is, there are no misspent funds. Each senator has complete discretion to take whichever staffer they deem necessary to make sure the trip is successful."

Chris McDaniel's campaign had no comment about the accusations.

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