League of Conservation Voters Scorecard Ignores Important Environmental Votes, But Includes Abortion and Campaign Finance Reform, by Christopher Burger

BACKGROUND: The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released their 2001 National Environmental Scorecard on February 20, 2002. The scorecard claims to demonstrate which elected officials had a pro-environment voting record in 2001 and which did not. However, important environmental votes were ignored in the scorecard while other issues, including abortion and campaign reform, were included.

This rigging of the scorecard resulted in artificially high scores for liberal elected officials while providing support for the liberal stance on abortion and campaign reform.

Important environmental votes ignored in the scorecard included Brownfields revitalization, which allows for economic development in predominately minority neighborhoods through the cleanup of polluted urban industrial sites, and the Pacific Salmon Recovery Act. Non-environmental votes included opposition to limiting federal family planning grants to overseas organizations to those that do not carry out abortions and support for Senator McCain’s campaign finance reform bill.

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The LCV ignored important environmental issues in its scorecard while including other issues important to liberals, including abortion and campaign finance reform.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: The LCV’s decision to ignore votes on important environmental legislation while including votes on other issues betrays the LCV as an organization interested in promoting a liberal agenda. Although the LCV has the right to score any votes it wishes, users of the scorecard should realize that the scorecard provides a more accurate barometer of an elected official’s liberalism than his or her dedication to safeguarding the environment.

DISCUSSION: The LCV’s scorecard betrays LCV’s liberalism and seems to be designed to provide high “environmental” scores to liberal elected officials and lower ones to moderates and conservatives, regardless of their votes on the full range of environmental issues.

LCV scored eight votes in the Senate and fourteen in the House of Representatives. For the Senate votes, it determined that a vote on campaign finance reform was a vote on an environmental issue. However, it did not include the Brownfields Revitalization Act, which some consider to be the most important piece of environmental legislation of this Congress. For the House, a vote on restricting taxpayer support for overseas family planning organizations to those that do not carry out abortions was considered worthy of inclusion. However, the LCV did not include the Pacific Salmon Recovery Act, which received support from both sides of the political spectrum.

By choosing to score only issues with overwhelming liberal support, and little if any support from conservatives, the LCV delivered artificially high marks to liberals and artificially low ones to conservatives. Senate Democrats averaged a score of 82 (out of 100) while Senate Republicans averaged nine. House Democrats were regarded highly as well, scoring an average of 81 while the Republicans in the House averaged a 16. Had votes on Brownfields legislation and the Pacific Salmon Recovery Act been included in the scorecard, and votes on abortion and campaign reform (at its heart a free speech, rather than environmental, issue) not been included, these scores would have been very different.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For a copy of LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard, go to http://www.lcv.org/scorecard/index.asp.

For more information on Brownfields revitalization, go to The National Center’s “Brownfields Revitalization Cuts Urban Blight, Suburban Sprawl,” by Syd Gernstein at

To get a detailed 1996 report on LCV’s left-wing political agenda, see “Environmental Activist: League of Conservation Voters,” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/dos7113.htm.

For 1995 and 1996 analyses of LCV campaign donation practices showing a correlation between LCV PAC donations and left-wing voting patterns of the recipients, see The National Center’s “Greenbacks for Green Votes” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/GBGV.html and
“Greenbacks for Green Votes 2” at http://www.nationalcenter.org/green2.html.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.