Case to Akaka, Akaka to Case: You're ineffective
Two members of Congress ranked as among the least effective are battling over who is worse on a national Web site
Two members of Congress ranked as some of the least effective -- Rep. Ed Case and Sen. Dan Akaka -- are battling over who has the worse rating on a national political Web site.
The nonpartisan Web site is owned by Capitol Advantage, which publishes congressional directories and helps link public advocacy group to members of Congress.
The Web service also rates the 435 members of the House and 100 senators on a scale for their power and influence in Washington.
Akaka is ranked 71 out of 100, and Case is ranked 410 out of 435, according to Congress.org. Case is running against incumbent Akaka for the U.S. Senate in the Sept. 23 primary election.
The Web site says each member of Congress is rated on 15 criteria that "demonstrated power and the ability to be effective in Congress in 2005. This resulted in a power score that ranked members for overall power in each chamber of Congress."
On Sunday, Case started running a television commercial questioning Akaka's accomplishments and noting that "Congress.org ranks him one of our nation's three least influential senators."
Akaka's camp fired back yesterday, saying Case is much worse than Akaka according to Congress.org, which Akaka's campaign said "is a respected nonpartisan service dedicated to facilitating civic participation."
Case's TV ad does not mention that Akaka is ranked 30th in the Senate for "legislative activity" while Case is ranked 426th in the House, Akaka's campaign staff complains.
Yesterday, Akaka said his campaign staff was trying to set the record straight.
"Our response was to tell the whole story that would be different from what he (Case) was saying," Akaka said.
Assigning a number to legislative performance does not tell the whole story, Akaka said in an interview after a speech to a group of veterans.
"For whatever criteria they use to determine that, I am unaware. When you look at the kind of response I get from live people, from colleagues, it is different," Akaka said.
In response, Case said because Akaka has been in Congress for 30 years, including 16 in the Senate, his ability to get legislation passed is important, but in contrast, Case had been in Congress for only three years, when the rating was compiled.
"Seniority doesn't mean much if you don't know what to do with it," Case said.
Akaka's campaign pointed out that Case "earns a power score of 5.02, in the bottom 10 percent of the House," while Akaka has a power score of 24.67.
In comparison, Hawaii's senior Sen. Daniel Inouye had a power score of 39, although he is ranked 33rd in the Senate.
Inouye gets a higher score because his long tenure in Congress gives him more clout, he is a member of the Appropriations Committee, he has good committee assignments and has successfully passed bills out of the Senate, according to the Web site.
In comparison, Akaka's rating notes only that he is a ranking member of a subcommittee, has successfully passed a bill in either the House or Senate and has successfully amended a measure.
Case's score, however, suffers from "having too few terms or years in office to have significant clout."
The Web site also notes that "members lose power points due to running for higher office, which usually translates into reduced resources and ability to exercise power in the legislative process."
In his television ad, Case notes that Time magazine ranks Akaka as "one of our country's five worst senators."
According to Congress.org, both Case and Akaka have little measurable influence in Congress.
HOW AKAKA AND CASE RANK
Akaka: 24.67 (71 out of 100)
Case: 5.02 (410 out of 435)
(How long in office, committee assignments and leadership)
Akaka: 39.34 (62 out of 100)
Case: 12.04 (373 out of 435)
(Influence votes through media, caucuses or giving money to other members)
Akaka: 0 (97 out of 100)
Case: -2 (426 out of 435)
(Power of legislator in being able to amend legislation, excluding ceremonial or technical amendments or nonbinding resolutions)
Akaka: 10 (30 out of 100)
Case: 0 (418 out of 435)