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Railroad Industry Lobbying Impact Report Download PDF File Download PDF File
 
 
Impact Report Published Date:
August 1st, 2011
 
Lobbying Impact Report: The Railroad Lobby

A free service provided by Lobbyists.info

 
 

Early in President Obama’s term, rail investments were front and center in his administration’s transportation and environmental platforms. Since then, the railroad plans have become an intensely partisan issue (see: TIME, February 9, 2011), with many foreign observers watching with puzzled bemusement.

As Obama’s initial push has become bogged down in such wrangling, however, the railroad industry’s own investment in lobbying has not wavered. Using Lobbyists.info, we took a look at how railroaders are represented in Washington.

Compared to other subsets of the larger transportation industry lobby, the railroaders have a respectable contingent of lobbyists working on their cause. While railroads are not as active on K Street as is the aviation industry, they hold their own against all other subgroups:



Registered lobbyists connected to the transportation industry, 2011


We took a look at a few of those 303 lobbyists, to see what the typical background is for a well-connected, influential railroad representative in Washington. Here’s what we found:

The railroad lobby has been concerned with a number of issues beyond government investments in high speed passenger service or freight line rehabilitation. Recently, House Republicans have expanded on their call for private investors (see: The Hill, May 23, 2011) by suggesting the privatization of Amtrak. Most Democrats have rejected such an idea, pointing out (see: Senator Lautenberg’s Testimony, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, May 26, 2011) the valuable and irreplaceable service which Amtrak provides in its current configuration.

Further controversy arose (see: Miami Herald, June 7, 2011) in several states when rail associations and groups partially or completely funded by state governments began using taxpayer dollars to lobby Washington lawmakers. Unless the state law creating the given rail authority specifically bans such usage, however, spending state money to retain Washington representation is entirely legal. These issues, in addition to the ever-present chance for future government dollars, are enough to keep the railroad lobby well funded ($3 million last quarter alone, see table below) and equipped to handle any track switching which lawmakers may perform. Lobbyists.info provides a breakdown of the rail lobby’s spending on lobbying activities in the first quarter of 2011.

Major rail lobbying activity in the first quarter of 2011


Rail Group Lobbying By Amount Spent
American High Speed Rail Alliance Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $30,000
  Group spending total: $30,000
Alaska Railroad Corporation Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $30,000
  Blank Rome Government Relations $50,000
  Group spending total: $80,000
Alliance for Railroad Competition Meyers & Associates $20,000
  Group spending total: $20,000
American Magline Group Potomac Partners $10,000
  Group spending total: $10,000
American Passenger Rail Coalition No outside counsel  
  Group spending total:  
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $80,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $80,000
AMTRAK In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
Anoka County Regional Railroad Authority Law Offices of John R. Brimsek $10,000
  Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies $9,000
  Group spending total: $19,000
Association of American Railroads Breaux Lott Leadership Group $120,000
  Federal Advocates $20,000
  Patton Boggs $60,000
  Ryan, MacKinnon, Vasapoli & Berzok $20,000
  Strategic Advisors, Ltd. $22,500
  The Accord Group $45,000
  Van Scoyoc Associates $10,000
  Washington Council, Ernst & Young $60,000
  William O. Lipinski $15,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $372,500
Austin-San Antonio Rail District Smith, Dawson & Andrews, Inc. $5,000
  Group spending total: $5,000
Balfour Beatty Construction Butterfield Carter & Associates $18,000
  McKenna, Long & Aldrige, LLP $10,000
  Group spending total: $28,000
BNSF Railway Company K & L Gates $60,000
  Madison Group $30,000
  Quinn Gillespie & Associates $50,000
  The Glover Park Group $40,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $180,000
Bombardier Cassidy & Associates $130,000
  Covington & Burling $150,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $280,000
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
Canadian National Railway Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $80,000
  mCapitol Management $20,000
  Group spending total: $100,000
Consumers United for Rail Equity Van Ness Feldman $120,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $120,000
CSX Corporation Compass Consulting Group $30,000
  Hunton & Williams $30,000
  Law Offices of Kevin Curtin $20,000
  McGlotten & Jarvis $20,000
  ML Strategies $30,000
  The Duberstein Group $100,000
  The Smith-Free Group $50,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $280,000
Dakota Minnesota and Eastern Railroad Law Offices of John R. Brimsek $20,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $20,000
Delaware and Hudson Railroad Law Offices of John R. Brimsek $20,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $20,000
Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Holland & Knight, LLP $40,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $40,000
Grand Trunk Corporation Public Strategies Washington $80,000
  Group spending total: $80,000
Greenbrier Companies Ball Janik $40,000
  Group spending total: $40,000
Herzog Companies RBC & Associates $30,000
  Group spending total: $30,000
Kansas City Southern Wiley Rein $30,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $30,000
National Association of Railroad Passengers In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $60,000
  Group spending total: $60,000
National Railway Labor Conference In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
Norfolk Southern American Continental Group $20,000
  Arthur E. Cameron $10,000
  Bartley M. O'Harra $15,000
  Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell  
  Clyburn Consulting LLC $20,000
  Federal Hill Group $10,000
  Joseph L. Carter Jr. $5,000
  LHD & Associates $20,000
  McAllister and Quinn, LLC $18,000
  Williams & Jensen $50,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $163,000
North American Freight Car Association Edward Merils $30,000
  Group spending total: $30,000
Northeast Illinois Regional Railroad Corporation Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $60,000
  Group spending total: $60,000
Northstar Corridor Development Authority David Turch & Associates $10,000
  Group spending total: $10,000
Osmose, Inc. The Accord Group $22,500
  Group spending total: $22,500
Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board Kadesh & Associates $30,000
  Group spending total: $30,000
Railway Supply Institute Clement and Associates $20,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $20,000
Saving Our Service Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $5,000
  Group spending total: $5,000
SNCF America Dutko Worldwide, LLC $330,000
  Group spending total: $330,000
Soo Line Railroad Law Offices of John R. Brimsek $60,000
  Group spending total: $60,000
Southern California Regional Rail Authority Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $10,000
  David Turch & Associates $20,000
  Kadesh & Associates $30,000
  Potomac Partners $30,000
  Group spending total: $90,000
Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis Haefner Enterprises $12,000
  Group spending total: $12,000
Texas High Speed Rail Transportation Corporation Dean International $10,000
  Group spending total: $10,000
Transportation Communications International Union In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
TTX Company American Defense International $20,000
  Lockridge Grindal & Nauen $5,000
  Williams & Jensen $40,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $65,000
Union Pacific Elmendorf Ryan $80,000
  Van Scoyoc Associates $20,000
  In-house counsel  
  Group spending total: $100,000
United Transportation Union In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
Veolia Transportation Inc. Prime Policy Group $70,000
  Thomas Gillespie $20,000
  William B. Newman Jr. $20,000
  Group spending total: $110,000
Virginia Railway Express In-house counsel  
  Group spending total:  
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Van Scoyoc Associates $50,000
  Group spending total: $50,000
Western High Speed Rail Alliance R & R Partners, Inc. $30,000
  Tom Skancke $20,000
  Group spending total: $50,000
Total: $3,142,000


While this paints a picture of a wide variety of clients selecting a wide variety of firms for their lobbying work, there are a few lobbying firms whose work with the railroad industry has stood out.  Below, we review the firms doing the most work for the railroad industry, as well as the industry’s top lobbyists. 


  Firm RR Revenue, Q1 2011 RR Clients
1 Chambers, Conlon & Hartwell $355,000 9
2 Dutko Worldwide, LLC $330,000 1
3 Covington & Burling $150,000 1
4 Cassidy & Associates $130,000 1
5 Breaux Lott Leadership Group $120,000 1
6 Van Ness Feldman $120,000 1
7 Law Offices of John R. Brimsek $110,000 4
8 The Duberstein Group $100,000 1
9 Williams & Jensen $90,000 2
10 Elmendorf Ryan $80,000 1
10 Van Scoyoc Associates $80,000 3
10 Public Strategies Washington $80,000 1


Several of the larger rail groups have formed their own PAC’s. Thus far, these PAC’s have given steadily to both Republicans and Democrats, despite sharp differences between the two parties on the future of American rail, and government involvement in that future. Lobbyists.info provides a two-year lookback at PAC giving to Republican and Democratic candidates.

Rail PAC contributions, 2009-2010

 



It would appear that the future for rail is still uncertain. Those early, heady days (see: Public Integrity.org, November 30, 2009) of big rail opportunities have seemingly been put on hold by the new Republican majority. In the meantime, however, railroad companies and their K Street representatives are steaming ahead.



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