National Taxpayers Union

The National Taxpayers Union is a lobbying organization favoring “lower taxes and smaller government.” It favors scrapping the income tax in favor of a “flat tax” or a national sales tax. Since its founding in 1969, the Taxpayers Union has been a critic of what it sees as wasteful federal spending, saying “NTU staffers know a boondoggle when they see it.”

The NTU’s home page offers links to its most recent research, including a regular report on “How Taxpayers Fared” in the most recent election from its point of view. The site also offers a useful FAQ about “congressional pay and perks.”

Some NTU material is useful for researchers, notably its calculations of the pensions paid to retiring House and Senate members and its analysis of what lawmakers spend on travel or office expenses. But questions have arisen about its motives for taking on certain issues, such as when it defended Microsoft against antitrust charges in the United States and Europe after receiving $215,000 in software from the company. The NTU’s anti-tax stance leads it to rate Republicans more favorably than Democrats. Nevertheless, the NTU often criticizes both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for what it terms wasteful travel or office spending.

Comments: The NTU keeps tabs on spending by Senate and House members, but its strongly anti-tax perspective colors much of its research.

Political Leanings: Conservative, strongly anti-tax