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Tue, May 06, 2008

Congressional Paper Names Blakey, May Among Best Lobbyists

Longtime Politicos Prove Very Effective For Their Cause(s)

It pays to know people in high places. Last week, Congressional watchdog newspaper The Hill recognized two heavy-hitters within the US aviation industry among its list of the 50 most influential lobbyists for business interests.

Former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey was named to the list, for her work as chief of the Aerospace Industries Association. As ANN reported, Blakey was named AIA's President and CEO in August, three weeks before her tenure as head of the FAA came to an end. The trade association represents the nation's manufacturers of aerospace equipment.

"The former FAA administrator took the helm of the powerful association last year and is already making an impression," the paper notes. Before her tenure at the FAA, Blakey was appointed to a string of other government positions, including Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and as Administrator of the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Several government watchdog groups and politicians took Blakey to task for her move to a lobbying group, questioning the ethical implications of Blakey's move from FAA Administrator, to accepting the top post at an organization impacted by her decisions while at the FAA. As ANN noted at the time, however... at least she wasn't going to work for an airline.

No, that's the job of the second aviation-minded individual named to The Hill's list: Air Transport Association CEO James May. "The longtime Washington insider is lobbying for airlines that want the costs of running the air traffic control system to be shifted to business jets," according to The Hill.

Despite their different titles, Blakey and May were often of one mind during the fight over FAA reauthorization, in calling for broad user fees against operators of small aircraft to pay for air traffic control services and modernization.

FMI: www.thehill.com, www.airlines.org, www.aia-aerospace.org

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