GOP Transportation Chair Admits To Romantic Relationship With Airline Lobbyist

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 3: House Transportation chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., arrives for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee hearing ... UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 3: House Transportation chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., arrives for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee hearing on "How the Changing Energy Markets Will Affect U.S. Transportation" on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images) MORE LESS
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The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is literally in bed with the airline lobby.

Politico reported Thursday that Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) has been dating a top lobbyist for a U.S. airline trade association since last summer, citing multiple anonymous sources familiar with their relationship.

In a statement to the publication, Shuster acknowledged a “private and personal relationship” with Shelley Rubino, vice president for global government affairs for Airlines for America.

Shuster isn’t running afoul of any ethics rules by dating Rubino, according to Politico. But the committee led by the congressman is currently hammering out legislation that could completely revamp the Federal Aviation Administration — and Rubino’s firm naturally has a vested interest in that legislation.

The congressman said in his statement to Politico that “Ms. Rubino doesn’t lobby my office, including myself and my staff.” It appears that nothing prevents Rubino from lobbying other members of the transportation committee, however.

An anonymous official with Airlines for America told Politico that the trade organization has discussed Rubino and Shuster’s relationship with outside counsel.

Shuster divorced his wife of two decades last year, according to the report. But his familiarity with Rubino dates back to her time working as a Democratic congressional aide. Shuster provided a statement for a 2012 news release announcing Rubino’s move to Airlines for America from former Rep. John Larson’s (D-CT) office.

“I have worked with Shelley and Chairman Larson’s office for the past few years and I have always found her to be hardworking, capable and bipartisan in her approach to issues,” Shuster said at the time, as quoted by Politico. “I think Shelley will be a tremendous addition to the A4A team that Nick Calio is building.”

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Notable Replies

  1. Now that’s what I call laying down some public policy. Bada Bing!

  2. What district does this guy represent in PA? Any chance we can get rid of him in 2016?

    I see this as a blatant conflict of interest. He should be forced to resign his committee post. But the law is so lax in this area.

  3. Avatar for pine pine says:

    “When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. Japanese Proverb”

  4. He’s the son of Bud Shuster, who held the seat since Christ was a corporal. Both of them are adept at bringing lots of pork to an otherwise poor district, so he’ll be there until he’s arrested or carried out feet first.

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