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Press Release


As Presidential Contenders Cite Fiscal Ratings from Citizen Groups, National Taxpayers Union Offers Clarification on Its Scorecard Results

For Immediate Release February 23, 2012
Douglas Kellogg, (703) 683-5700
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700

(Alexandria, VA) – During last night’s debate among Republican Presidential candidates, several citizen groups’ congressional scorecards entered the spotlight including the National Taxpayers Union’s (NTU’s) annual Rating of Congress. In order to provide the most complete picture possible, today NTU offered additional information and clarification on its Rating system and results.

Each year since 1979, NTU has issued a Rating of all Members of Congress based on every roll call vote affecting federal taxes, spending, debt, and regulation (often hundreds of votes in a given year). Votes are weighted according to their fiscal impact, and are tabulated to produce for each lawmaker a Taxpayer Score representing their level of support for limited government and opposition to bigger government. Since 1992, NTU has issued letter grades (often based on a curve) in order to allow citizens to better interpret Taxpayer Scores.

Yesterday evening, candidate Rick Santorum said:

“The Weekly Standard just did a review, looking at the National Taxpayers Union, I think, Citizens Against Government Waste, and they measured me up against the other 50 senators who were serving when I did and they said that I was the most fiscally conservative senator in the Congress in the -- in the 12 years that I was there.”

Clarification: The analysis referred to by Santorum during the debate, was performed by the Weekly Standard based on NTU data. The analysis and conclusions of the Weekly Standard’s article – particularly the “GPA” methodology discussed in that piece – are solely the work of the Standard.  Given the recent interest surrounding NTU’s Rating, the following tables provide complete information on Taxpayer Scores for Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum for the years they served in Congress.

NTU Rates Congress Data

For GOP Presidential Primary Contenders

Candidate

Career Average Score

Average Member/Senator Score during tenure

Average Republican Score during tenure

Newt Gingrich

61.9%

41%

56.5%

Ron Paul

90.8%

39.4%

61%

Rick Santorum

75.2%

45.6%

71%

 

Rick Santorum Year-by-Year NTU Rates Congress Statistics

Year

Score (out of 100%)

Rank

2006 Senate

80

27

2005 Senate

69

32

2004 Senate

83

7

2003 Senate

81

5

2002 Senate

77

3

2001 Senate

82

22

2000 Senate

73

31

1999 Senate

74

33

1998 Senate

69

17

1997 Senate

83

11

1996 Senate

75

16

1995 Senate

86

30

1994 House

68

113

1993 House

74

93

1992 House

66

94

1991 House

63

-

 

Rep. Newt Gingrich Year-by-Year NTU Rates Congress Statistics

Year

Score (out of 100%)

Rank

1998

79*

11*

1997

80*

4*

1996

85*

2*

1995

98*

1*

1994

73

84

1993

75

81

1992

65

103

1991

52

-

1990

58

-

1989

46

-

1988

36

-

1987

59

-

1986

56

-

1985

57

-

1984

52

-

1983

63

-

1982

53

-

1981

45

-

1980

50

-

1979

56

-

*Speakers of the House vote rarely. These provisional scores are based on limited attendance

Rep. Ron Paul Year-by-Year NTU Rates Congress Statistics

Year

Score (out of 100%)

Rank

2010

95

2

2009

96

2

2008

96

2

2007

91

10

2006

84

3

2005

84

2

2004

90

2

2003

89

2

2002

88

1

2001

88

1

2000

91

1

1999

89

1

1998

88

2

1997

78

8

1984*

95*

-

1983

99

-

1982

95

-

1981

94

-

1980

94

-

1979

91

-

*Score based on less than 75%, but more than 50%, of weighted total of votes cast

NTU has comprehensively rated Members of Congress on their voting records since 1979 and a complete online database of all lawmakers’ Taxpayer Scores and grades since 1992 is available online at www.ntu.org. NTU is committed to helping members of the public, the political community, and the media better understand the fiscal voting records of Members of Congress.

The 362,000-member NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels.