Tech Law Journal Congressional Scorecard 1998
Notes on Methods Used to Create Scorecard
Who Was Included. The Scorecard rated all members of the 105th Congress (1997-1998). It includes people who are not in the 106th Congress (1999-2000). It includes people who did not run for re-election or who retired. Similarly, it does not include people who were first elected last November. It also does not include non-voting delegates to Congress.
Notes on Methods
TOP TEN LISTS
|Senate Top 10
House Top 10
Urban vs. Rural
Age and Seniority
The list of Senators was static in 1998. However, there were several changes in the
membership of the House in 1998. The Scorecard is based on a list of Representatives
compiled by Robin Carle, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, dated October 1,
1998. Several members of House died in office, and several special elections were held.
Hence, the newly elected members were included in the Scorecard list. This lowered the
scores some Representatives who entered the House through special elections in mid-1998.
They entered beyond the deadlines for sponsoring the Internet Tax Freedom Act and the
Safety and Freedom Through Encryption Act.
Method of Coding the Five Criteria. The Scorecard treated
each of the five criteria as dichotomous variables. Hence, they were all entered into
databases as either "1" or "0." That is, for each of the criteria the
legislator was either a "yea" or "nay," a "sponsor" or
"not a sponsor," or a "member" or "not a member." This
entailed some exercise of discretion. For example, persons who missed votes, or who voted
"present," were coded the same as as "no" votes. In the case of
legislators who supported a bill, but missed the vote, this method may seem arbitrary.
Also, persons who initially sponsored a bill, but later withdrew their sponsorship, were
coded as non-sponsors.
Five House Criteria.
Encryption. The House held no roll call votes on encryption. The Scorecard used the sponsorship list for HR 695 (Safety and Freedom through Encryption Act) provided by Library of Congress, as of November 19, 1998. Members who sponsored the bill, but later removed their names from the sponsorship list were treated as non-sponsors. Also, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the bill's lead sponsor, kept a list of members who asked to sponsor the bill after the deadline for doing so. These members were coded as sponsors. This list included Mary Bono, Lois Capps, Dick Armey, John Balducci, and Dick Smith. David Lehman, of Rep. Goodlatte's staff, provided this list to Tech Law Journal on November 11, 1998.
H1B. The Scorecard used the the recorded roll call vote on S 3736, the "Workforce Improvement and Protection Act" on September 24, 1998. This was Roll Call No. 460. There were 288 votes in favor and 133 votes against. The remainder were also coded in the Scorecard as "no" votes.
Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. The House passed HR 1689 by a recorded vote on July 22, 1998. This was Roll Call No. 318. The vote was 340 in favor and 83 against. Nita Lowey vote "present" and was coded as a "no" vote for the Scorecard. Eleven members missed the vote. Two of these later entered statements in the Congressional Record that they supported the bill (Goodlatte and Hooley). All of these eleven members were coded as "no" votes for the Scorecard.
Internet Tax Freedom Act. While this was enacted into law, there was no roll call vote which could have been used in the Scorecard. The bill passed by a voice vote without opposition on June 23, 1998. It passed it again, but an overwhelming vote as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill in October. The scorecard used the sponsorship list for HR 1054 provided by the Library of Congress, as of November 11, 1998. This bill went through several versions and bill numbers as the bill worked its way through the House. However, only HR 1054 had a large number of co-sponsors. Only HR 1054 provided a measure of strong support for an Internet tax moratorium.
Internet Caucus. The Scorecard used a list provided by the Internet Caucus, from October 1998. There were eighty-two House members. (Note that several non-voting delegates are members of the Internet Caucus, but were not included in the Scorecard.)
Five Senate Criteria.
Encryption. The Senate held no votes on encryption in 1998. The Scorecard used the sponsorship list for S 377, the Promotion of Commerce On-line in the Digital Era Act (Pro CODE) provided by the Library of Congress. One might argue that co-sponsorship of S 2067, the "E-Privacy" bill, should also qualify a Senator as a supporter of encryption legislation. However, the list of co-sponsors of this bill was a subset of the list of cosponsors of S 377, so it would not have made any difference.
H1B Visas. The Senate passed S 1723 on May 18, 1998 by a vote of 78 to 20. This was Roll Call No. 141. Two Senators who missed the vote (D'Amato and Faircloth) were coded in the Scorecard as "no" votes.
Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. The Senate passed S 1260 on May 13, 1998 by a vote of 79 to 21. This was Roll Call No. 135.
Internet Tax Freedom Act. The Senate passed S 442 by a roll call vote. However, the vote was almost unanimous. All the disputed issues had been resolved in votes on amendments. The Scorecard used one of the key votes on amendments: Roll Call No. 305, on October 7, 1998. The vote was on Amendment No. 3783, offered by Sen. McCain, to extend the duration of the moratorium to four years. It failed by a vote of 45 to 52. The three Senators who missed the vote (Glenn, Hollings, and Specter) were coded in the Scorecard as "no" votes. This vote provided the best evidence of strong support for the concept underlying the Internet Tax Freedom Act. (Note: the House did not pass this bill as a stand alone bill, but both the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which included the language of this bill.)
Internet Caucus. The Scorecard used a list provided by the Internet Caucus, from October 1998. There were twenty-one Senators on the list.
Measurement of Other Variables.
Party: Party affiliation is pretty straightforward. The only problem was what to do with Vermont independent Representative Bernie Sanders. He is a liberal, and the Democrats have made him a ranking member of a subcommittee. Hence, he was coded as a Democrat.
Race: The Scorecard only coded for black and white. There was no measurement of Hispanics, or other ethnic groups.
Age: The Scorecard used Senators' and Representatives' ages as of December 31, 1998. Their ages were calculated from birthdates listed in CQ's Politics in America 1998, and the Preview Edition of The U.S. Congress handbook.
Percent of District that is Rural. The Scorecard used U.S. Census Data, as published in the Almanac of American Politics, 1998.
Percent of District that is Black. The Scorecard used U.S. Census Data, as published in the Almanac of American Politics, 1998.
Sex, State, and District Numbers were all straight forward.
0 to 100 Scale. The Scorecard coded each of the five criteria as
dichotomous variables (0 or 1). Hence, legislators could easily have been rated on a 0 to
5 scale. However, this was converted into a 0 to 100 scale. For example, taking the pro
tech position on one of the criteria converted into a score of 20; taking the pro tech
position on two of the criteria converted into a score of 40; and so forth. The reason for
using a 0 to 100 scale is to provide a common scale to compare support scores in future
years. For example, if a 10 criteria Scorecard were used in 1999, a 1999 score of 5 would
not be comparable to a 1998 score of 5.
Software Tools. This Scorecard, including the data organization and analysis, was produced with MS Office 97 Professional Edition, and especially Excel. MS FrontPage 98 was used to create the web pages.