Group Ratings. The congressional rating statistics of 10 interest groups provide an idea of a legislator's general ideology and the degree to which the legislator represents different groups' interests. Not just a record of liberal/conservative voting behavior, these ratings come from a range of groups concerned with everything from single issues (environmental concerns) to the political interests of a particular sector (e.g., business). The order of the groups is such that the more "liberal" groups are on the left and the more "conservative" are on the right. Four groups, ACLU, ITIC, NTLC, and CHC provide one rating for the two-year congressional session. Following is a general description of each organization.

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ADA - Americans for Democratic Action
   Liberal: Since its founding in 1947, ADA members have pushed for legislation designed to curtail rising defense spending, prevent encroachments on civil liberties and promote international human rights. The ADA uses 20 votes from the 108th Congress based on a broad spectrum of issues for its vote analysis.

ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union
   Pro-individual liberties: ACLU seeks to protect individuals from legal, executive and congressional infringement on basic rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The ACLU ratings are published for every Congress; the 2004 ratings include the years 2003 and 2004.

AFS - American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
   Liberal labor: As the nation's largest public service employees union, representing more than 1.4 million members, AFSCME is committed to improving working conditions through collective bargaining. The AFSCME voting records are based on a representative sample of roll call votes from the 108th Congress.

LCV - League of Conservation Voters
   Environmental: Formed in 1970, LCV is the national, non-partisan arm of the environmental movement. LCV works to elect pro-environmental candidates to Congress. LCV ratings are based on key votes concerning energy, environment and natural resource issues.

ITIC - Information Technology Industry Council
   High-tech industry: ITIC represents the leading U.S. providers of information technology products and services. ITIC's mission is to help shape policies that advance electronic commerce, open new markets, rely on market-based solutions, and foster innovation. The 2004 ratings include the years 2003 and 2004.

NTU - National Taxpayers Union
   Pro-taxpayer rights: NTU is the nation's largest and oldest taxpayers' rights group, representing 350,000 members in all 50 states. NTU analyzes every roll call vote taken during both sessions of Congress that significantly affects federal taxes, spending, debt, or regulatory impact.

COC - Chamber of Commerce of the United States
   Pro-business: Founded in 1912 as a voice for organized business, COC represents local, regional and state chambers of commerce in addition to trade and professional organizations.

ACU - American Conservative Union
   Conservative: Since 1971, ACU ratings have provided a means of gauging the conservatism of members of Congress. Foreign policy, social and budget issues are their primary concerns.

NTLC - National Tax-Limitation Committee
   Pro-tax limitation: NTLC was organized in 1975 to seek constitutional and other limits on taxes, spending and deficits. These ratings are based on budget issue votes and bills that would have a major impact on long-term government taxing and spending programs.

CHC - Christian Coalition
   Conservative: Pro-family citizen organization and national lobby founded in 1989 working for family-friendly public policy on a local, state and national level with over 2 million members.


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