For Immediate Release:
For More Information:
PIRG Releases Annual Scorecard,
One hundred thirty-seven members of the House or Senate voted in the public interest at least 80 percent of the time in the 106th Congress, with 20 members scoring 100 percent, according to the annual Congressional Scorecard of U.S. Senators and Representatives on major public interest issues released today by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). One hundred forty-two members of the House or Senate had scores at 10 percent or below, with 48 members scoring 0 percent. U.S. PIRG and the State PIRGs will distribute the individualized scorecards to over one million households across the country this summer as part of its door-to-door campaign to stop the rollback of the nation's environmental and public health protections.
"Special interests continue to spend millions of dollars to pollute the air we breathe, open the Arctic Refuge to oil drilling, and roll back the nation's key environmental and public health protections," said U.S. PIRG Executive Director Gene Karpinski. "These scorecards are an important tool to educate the public about the voting records of their elected officials and to help citizens hold those officials accountable."
In addition to tracking such diverse public interest votes as the transportation of highly radioactive waste; allowing financial mergers without protecting consumer privacy; and banning "soft money" contributions to Congressional campaigns, the scorecards also list information about campaign contributions, biographical data, past PIRG scores, and telephone numbers for citizens to contact their elected officials.
"We applaud the 137 members who scored 80 percent or more for consistently voting in the public interest," said Karpinski. "We are particularly disappointed in the 142 members who consistently voted to put special interests before public health and safety and scored at or below 10 percent."
Members who received 100% on the PIRG scorecard were:
"The 106th Congress voted on an ongoing series of anti-environmental and anti-consumer measures," continued Karpinski. "The House and Senate voted to mandate the transportation of highly radioactive waste through 43 states putting millions of Americans at risk; the House and Senate voted to allow financial mergers without protecting consumer privacy; the Senate blocked efforts to take the incremental campaign reform step of banning "soft money" contributions; and the Senate voted to continue to allow oil companies to underpay royalties to taxpayers of $66 million per year."
"We urge all Members of Congress to work to protect our last wild forests, clean up polluting power plants, defend the Superfund and other environmental and public health protections passed over the last three decades," said Karpinski. "Congress should strengthen, not weaken, our consumer protection and campaign finance laws.
The scorecard and key to the votes scored within can be viewed online at http://www.pirg.org/score2001.
U.S. PIRG is the national lobby office for the state Public Interest Research Groups. State PIRGs are nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest advocacy groups.