FAA Shutdown Highlights Influence of Multiple Industries

August 4, 2011 - When Congress stopped legislative activity for its summer recess earlier than originally planned, it failed to reauthorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. This has caused nonessential aspects of the agency to shut down, halting airport construction projects across the country and preventing the collection of taxes on the sale of airline tickets.

The impasse boils down to a disagreement between the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled Senate over continuing subsidies for passenger service to certain rural airports (supported by Democrats) and making it harder for airline employees to unionize (supported by Republicans and Delta Airlines).

Total Contributions from Entities Involved in the FAA Shutdown by Party

  Democrats             Republicans     
Air Transport Unions $14,301,234 $4,057,020
Building Trade Unions $50,121,699 $7,408,575
Federal Employee Unions $7,489,705 $1,821,400
FAA Employees $173,907 $69,002
Air Transport sector $18,436,535 $25,462,366
Air Transport sector (PACs only) $14,328,611 $20,718,737
Airline industry $4,332,938 $4,866,801
Airline industry (PACs only) $2,751,251 $3,450,306
Delta Airlines $439,620 $569,859
Delta Airlines (PAC only) $261,300 $368,775
Air Transport Association $140,012 $150,354
Air Transport Association (PAC only)     $107,062 $120,104

Delta Airlines (PAC only) Top 10 Recipients

Legislator In Office?    Contributions
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) Y $20,000
Sen. John Isakson (R-Ga.) Y $18,230
Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) Y $18,000
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) Y $15,300
Rep. James McCrery (R-La.) N $13,000
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) Y $13,000
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.)      Y $12,000
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) N $11,000
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) Y $11,000
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) Y $10,500

Air Transport Association (PAC only) Top 10 Recipients

Legislator In Office?    
Contributions
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) Y $9,564
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) N $9,519
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) N $9,000
Rep. Donald Young (R-Alaska) Y $8,000
Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) N $7,998
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) Y $7,997
Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) Y $7,500
Rep. Joseph Knollenberg (R-Mich.)     N $7,497
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) Y $6,500
Sen. Robert Menéndez (D-N.J.) Y $6,499

FAA Employees Top 10 Recipients

Legislator In Office?    Contributions
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) N $63,676
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) Y $43,250
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Y $18,900
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) N $16,056
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) Y $9,200
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) Y $5,575
Rep. Ronald Paul (R-Texas) Y $4,152
Rep. Addison Wilson (R-S.C.) Y $4,000
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) Y $4,000
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)      Y $3,250
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) Y $3,250

Air Transport Unions Top 10 Recipients

Legislator In Office?  Contributions
Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.)     N $205,900
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) Y $156,100
Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) Y $141,750
Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) Y $134,500
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) Y $134,300
Rep. Edward Pastor (D-Ariz.) Y $131,250
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Y $120,250
Rep. Donald Young (R-Alaska) Y $118,000
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) Y $117,500
Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa.) Y $116,750

Methodology: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to legislators serving in the 109th, 110th, 111th and 112th Congresses from Air Transport Unions, Building Trade Unions, Federal Employee Unions, FAA Employees, Air Transport sector, Airline industry, Delta Airlines, and the Air Transport Association, Jan 1, 2001-Dec. 31, 2010. Contributions data provided by OpenSecrets.org.

About MapLight: MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics. If our work has been helpful to you, please consider supporting us.