By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog
ST. LOUIS — An examination of voting records shows that eight of the 11 members of Missouri’s congressional delegation miss more votes than their peers — and that U.S. Rep. Todd Akin has missed 85 percent of the House votes this quarter.
Akin, a Republican, has failed to cast 4.6 percent of the votes during his 12 years in the House, ranking the U.S. Senate candidate near the top 20 percent of the most absent members of Congress.
But U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, a Democrat, is the Missourian on Capitol Hill who tops the list, with 7.1 percent of votes missed since 2001.
That puts Clay in the top 8 percent for all members of Congress, according to Josh Tauberer, who crunches the numbers on congressional votes at GovTrack.us.
Akin’s opponent, incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, has missed 2.5 percent of the votes, just above the median of 2.4 percent.
Missed vote percentages for the rest include:
Akin has been largely missing from Washington, D.C., this year while on the campaign trail for the contentious Republican primary
earlier this month. He missed 21 percent of votes in the first quarter of 2012 and 16 percent of votes in the second quarter, before missing 89 of 105 House votes this summer.
His spokesman, Ryan Hite, failed to respond to a request for comment from Missouri Watchdog.
Representatives for Clay also could not be reached Thursday.
Although he hasn’t closely examined the data, Tauberer is pretty sure incumbents running for re-election or a new office, as Akin is doing, tend to miss more votes than their peers.
“It’s definitely a trend, especially presidential candidates — they will drop off the map,” he said.
Tauberer said quarterly spikes are not that uncommon, and they occur for various reasons, such as illness.
“There often are legitimate reasons that happens to people, and maybe campaigning is a legitimate reason,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, a Louisiana Republican, disagrees.
In July he introduced H.R. 6085, known as the “No Show, No Pay” act, which would dock a day’s pay for any of his colleagues in Congress who miss a single vote held on a given day.
“They habitually miss important votes on key policy initiatives and legislation by leaving early or arriving late in order to attend fundraising and campaign events,” Boustany said. “This bill discourages these offenders from dodging their Constitutional duty by holding them accountable to their constituency.
A congressional committee is discussing the bill.