The Washington Times - January 28, 2013, 01:52PM

The right-leaning Heritage Foundation released a new congressional scorecard Monday that showed that the group’s newly-recruited boss shared the top spot in the last Congress when it came to sticking to basic conservative principles.

Former South Carolina Sen. Jim Demint, who resigned from his seat to take over the Washington-based think tank, and Sen. Mike Lee, the tea party favorite from Utah, topped the list. Altogether, 29 members of Congress — six senators and 23 House members — achieved the group’s “Sentinel status” by scoring 90 percent or higher on the Heritage Action Scorecard.


“Americans worried about our country’s future should sleep better at night knowing a dedicated group of lawmakers are fighting for freedom every day in Washington,” Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham said in the news release.

The scorecard, according to Heritage officials, aims to sift out the lawmakers who talk like conservatives from the lawmakers who act and vote like conservatives.

Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Orrin G. Hatch of Utah — all Republicans — were the other top performers in the Senate.

The top House scores went to GOP Reps. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina; Trent Franks of Arizona; Tom Graves of Georgia; Paul Broun of Georgia; Jim Jordan of Ohio; and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.

“Not only did they advance the conservative cause, but they also held back the incessant tide of tax increases, out-of-control spending, and harmful policies that breed dependency on government. In Washington, this is no easy task, which makes these members all the more commendable,” Mr. Needham.