U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., is having a war of words with leaders of the Heritage Foundation after the Kentucky lawmaker slammed their legislative scorecard system. The group Heritage Action for America is a more aggressive grassroots arm of the conservative policy organization that recently released its ratings of the 112th Congress.
Among the Kentucky federal delegation, the group scored U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., the highest at 93 percent, which is well above other members including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is rated at 68 percent.
In an interview with Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Davis challenged the group after being rated at only 63 percent, alleging they were motivated primarily by campaign contributions to rate certain GOP lawmakers higher than others.
“Heritage Action is a self-interested fundraising organization led by a former Giuliani staffer who is not taking counsel from real conservatives,” he told The Daily Caller. “It is a worthless organization to the conservative movement. I’ll be the first to say that.”
Responding to Davis’s criticism, leaders with the group say the scorecard is an honest assessment of who stood up for conservative values with their votes, whether large of small issues.
“We don’t make any apologies that our scorecard is a tough scorecard. We’ve said that we’re conservatives,” Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham told the online publication. “We’re not tenured professors, and it’s a tough scorecard.”
The ideological infighting might appear petty to most political observers, but Davis takes his conservative credentials seriously. For months, he has promoted his Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act as a way to spur job growth and tackle burdensome regulation.
Other groups have rated Davis in the low 90s or high 80s, but for Republican voters who follow the Heritage Action group’s rating, Davis and his legislation might appear lukewarm, particularly Tea Party supporters.