Know Your Transportation Lobbyists: The American Trucking Association

Earlier this week, we took a closer look at the congressional lobbying teams employed by the transport sector’s biggest players, AASHTO and APTA. Today, it’s time to meet the representatives of the American Trucking Association (ATA), which reported $1.32 million in lobbying spending during the first half of this year on its congressional disclosures — more than AASHTO and APTA’s combined K Street bills.

The ATA is a dedicated opponent of expanding tolling to pay for infrastructure improvements, particularly on the interstate highway system and through congestion pricing plans.

Its lobbying activities extend to throwing cold water on legislation tackling climate change, which the group recently lamented would "impose significant costs on American consumers."

One prominent recent addition to the ATA’s lobbying slate is James Lee Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the Clinton administration.

Witt and two colleagues at the consulting firm Global Options Group, Edward Fry and Bob Nash, who was Hillary Clinton’s deputy campaign manager during her presidential run, registered to lobby for the truckers in June but have yet to declare any activity.

Aside from Global Options Group, the ATA has 15 lobbyists defending its priorities on the Hill. Its in-house team includes CEO Bill Graves, formerly the GOP governor of Kansas; Timothy P. Lynch, a 27-year veteran transport lobbyist; and Michael Robinson, a longtime adviser to the ex-House Majority Leader (and current indicted TV dance contestant) Tom DeLay (R-TX).

The ATA’s team of outside consultants includes Colin Chapman, a onetime top aide to former House transport committee chairman Don Young (R-AK) whose unrestricted access to the champion earmarker was immortalized in Young interns’ "survival guide."

Bob Moss, a onetime auto-industry lobbyist whose political experience dates back nearly 40 years, is also representing the ATA, as is Mary Phillips, an aide to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who crossed through the "revolving door" to the ATA once before, only to return to the Federal Highway Administration — and then come back to the ATA.

The ATA’s other outside lobbyists are a quartet hailing from McBee Strategic and Kathy Ruffalo-Farnsworth, who has the perhaps difficult task of advocating for the truckers’ agenda as well as AASHTO’s and APTA’s.

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