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See Who Is Lobbying and Donating to Key Transpo Congressmen

Tuesday, November 01, 2011 - 10:25 AM

Coalition Builder Image of the Lobbying Activity on Transportation Legislation via First Street Research Group)

As Congress contemplates deficit reduction plans and job creation strategies, transportation and infrastructure spending has become a divisive topic and a political battleground. Using a new tool from Congressional Quarterly CQ Press and the campaign finance database from the Center for Responsive Politics, here's a peek at who is funding the campaigns of the top congressmen when it comes to transportation policy.

If you want to see your lobbying in visual form, CQ Press (formerly a part of Congressional Quarterly) has launched a research arm, First Street Research Group which offers a tool to create an influence map (login required) of the power brokers of transportation policy, and how they are connected through funding sources and staffing relationships.

There are two major House committees with oversight over transportation policy. The top members of each from both parties all take money from the industries affected by their legislation. Here's a sampling of some campaign financing data, and a peek at who the people they're connected to.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) Chair of the House Transportation Committee

Industry associations are Mica's bread and butter, and mostly in transportation. Berkshire-Hathaway was also a large contributor.

John Mica (R-Fla.) campaign donations 2011-2012 by industry. (Center for Responsive Politics at OpenSecrets.org)

DONATIONS 2011-2012 Session --

(For a detailed list, go here.) The top five industries by amount given are:

1) Sea Transport / Cruises

2) Railroads

3) Trucking

4) Transportation Unions

5) Air Transport / Airlines

LOBBYIST CONNECTIONS -- First Street points out: "Three former prominent members of his staff have gone on to lobby transportation issues for their clients, one of which donated to Rep. Mica and lobbied on bills he introduced." Those staffers represent the cruise and airline industry as well as local municipalities seeking Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations.

 

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.), ranking member of the House Transportation Committee

Rahall's largest donors by far come from unions, including the Air Traffic Controllers Association, and unions representing mine workers, truck drivers, transit workers, pilots and others. Berkshire Hathaway is the fourth largest individual contributor.

Nick Rahall (D-W.V) campaign donations 2011-2012 by industry. (Center for Responsive Politics at OpenSecrets.org)

DONATIONS 2011-2012 Session --

(For a detailed list, go here.) The top five industries by amount given are:

1) Transportation Unions

2) Railroads

3) Air Transport / Airlines

4) Industrial Unions

5) Lobbyists

LOBBYIST CONNECTIONS -- One former staffer works for a lobbying firm that represents the United Motorcoach Association as well as several airline clients. See list here.

 

Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) Chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development

Berkshire-Hathaway is the largest campaign contributor to Latham by far, at $17,500 for the 2011-2012 session. The number two contributor, Reynolds American, the tobacco company, donated $11,000. First Street notes, "In 2009, he tried unsuccessfully to reduce by $3 billion a $4 billion boost in high-speed rail funding Democrats inserted into the spending bill. But in that same measure he helped get millions of dollars for local infrastructure projects."

 

Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) campaign donations 2011-2012 by industry. (Center for Responsive Politics at OpenSecrets.org)

DONATIONS -- (For a detailed list, go here.) The top five industries by amount given are:

1) Leadership PACs

2) Lobbyists

3) Health Professionals

4) Electric Utilities

5) Pharmaceuticals

LOBBYIST CONNECTIONS --  One former staffer is now a lobbyist, who lobbied Latham on non-transportation legislation.

 

Rep. John Olver (D-Mass.) Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development

Olver is set to retire at the end of the term and has thus raised considerably less money than his counterparts. First Street finds that he "doesn't have any big name companies with transportation interests donating large amounts to his campaign, [though] some of the bigger unions have donated to his Political Action Committee."

 

John Olver (D-Mass.) campaign donations 2011-2012 by industry. (Center for Responsive Politics at OpenSecrets.org)

DONATIONS -- (For a detailed list, go here.) The top five industries by amount given are:

1) Transportation Unions

2) Real Estate

3) Building Trade Unions

4) Lawyers and Law Firms

5) Retired Individuals

LOBBYIST CONNECTIONS -- Two former staffers currently lobby on transportation issues, representing airports, a limousine association and a infrastructure construction firm.


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