Congress.org and the Hawaii governor's race
The two major Democratic candidates for governor in Hawaii sparred last night in a debate that touched on Congress.org.
During the debate, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann was asked about a flyer his campaign created which criticized former Rep. Neil Abercrombie's record in Congress. (The exchange begins at 8:29 here.)
"We were merely trying to point out the fact that if my record is going to be scrutinized then we need to look at his record also," Hannemann said.
The flyer included a reference to the 2008 "Power Rankings" done by Congress.org under its previous ownership.
In his response, Abercrombie said that his opponent "spins facts."
"Congress.org is a Republican front organization that rates me in the same category as Sen. Daniel Inouye," he said, referring to Hawaii's longtime senator.
For the record, Congress.org is not —and has never been — a "Republican front organization." We are a news and information site run by the CQ-Roll Call Group, which also publishes CQ Today and Roll Call. Like those publications, we strive to be neutral and objective.
The rankings were done by Knowlegis, a D.C. area firm that specializes in gathering information about Congress for advocacy groups. Their team looked at bill sponsorship, earmarks and leadership positions as well as more nebulous factors such as "indirect influence" to determine lawmakers' effectiveness.
After Knowlegis was purchased by the company now known as CQ-Roll Call in late 2008, Congress.org underwent a redesign and the rankings were removed from the site.
Also, in case you were wondering, Abercrombie was ranked 213 out of 435 Members of the House, and Inouye was ranked 35th out of 99 senators.
Update: A spokeswoman for Abercrombie told the Associated Press he misspoke in the debate when he characterized Congress.org as a GOP group.
— Ryan Teague Beckwith, www.Congress.org
CB: “Mostly True”: Neil's Congressional Performance "Dead Last"
HNN: Abercrombie misspoke in allegation about website
HONOLULU (AP) - A spokeswoman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie is saying he misspoke when he alleged that a website that rated his congressional record poorly is a "Republican front organization." Abercrombie, a former congressman, made the allegation about Congress.org during Monday's televised debate on Hawaii News Now.
On Tuesday, spokeswoman Laurie Au said in a statement that Abercrombie was referring to another website. She says ratings from both sites were cited in a controversial flyer sent voters by Abercrombie's rival, Democrat Mufi Hannemann….
(Examining a copy of Hannemann’s “Compare and Decide” flyer, the only other website cited was the “Washington Post Project 2010” which Hannemann’s campaign says “Exposed [Abercrombie] as having the one of the worst voting records for the 111th Congress.” Does Abercrombie want to claim that WaPo is a “Republican front organization?”)
Hawai’i Free Press had this story way back in June: Congress.org: "Abercrombie is a follower"
UPDATE: Hannemann commercial "Abercrombie is a follower" >>> HANN-27726 NeilsRecord-R
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defends: "Neil Abercrombie was an outstanding member of Congress and he will be an outstanding Governor." (Pelosi, like Abercrombie, was a member of the Democratic Socialists of America-allied Congressional Progressive Caucus.)
Abercrombie campaign responds: Neil’s Record in Congress