Taxpayer advocacy group gives South Dakota senator a paltry 5% rating

WASHINGTON , D.C. – Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) today issued its "Enemy of the Taxpayer" \’awards.\’ This unsavory designation is given to lawmakers who have consistently voted against the interests of taxpayers, receiving an ATR rating of 15 percent or less. Among the recipients this year was Senator Tom Daschle, who received a dismal 5 percent rating from ATR.

"Tom Daschle’s record speaks for itself. His support of tax-and spend special interests dominates his voting record," said ATR President Grover Norquist . "With an abysmal 5 percent score, Daschle is clearly an enemy of the American taxpayer."

ATR began issuing "Hero of the Taxpayer" and "Enemy of the Taxpayer" awards in 1995. The awards are based on 20 congressional votes, and members receive five points for each issue on which they sided with taxpayers. The year, the rating included votes on tort reform, free trade, spending control, and overtime regulation reform. In the ratings for the House, the taxpayer group double-rated a vote to protect taxpayers from the march of the Alternative Minimum Tax, a "bad idea" forcing a tax increase on more and more families every year, and burdening them with onerous paperwork requirements. In the Senate, ATR double-rated a vote on keeping the Internet tax-free.

"During election season, every candidate is apt to allege that he or she is on the side of taxpayers," continued Norquist. "But the proof is in their votes. Constituents deserve to know who has worked for taxpayers\’ interests, and not the special interests. Tom Daschle is clearly an enemy of taxpayers, and Americans for Tax Reform wants the citizens of South Dakota to know that he has repeatedly voted against their best interests."

In addition to votes on legislation, ATR counts its "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" as two votes in the annual rating. The Pledge is a written promise offered to every incumbent and candidate opposing "any and all tax increases." The President, Vice President, 217 representatives, and 42 senators have signed the Pledge. None of this year\’s “Enemies” signed the Pledge.

Ratings from the organization are available for every member of Congress at