Thursday, October 15, 2015

Airline Lobbyist Dorgan Uses Think Tank Perch to Promote Air Bill

Another day, another lobbyist using a think tank to promote a bill that he lobbies for on behalf of a client.  Here is more from Politico:
Former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has been busy this year promoting a plan now under consideration on Capitol Hill that would essentially privatize air-traffic control. He says his role as co-chairman of a think-tank working group convinced him the change is needed. 
What he hasn't mentioned in at least two appearances is that in June he signed on as a paid lobbyist for American Airlines, which is pushing the plan. At least one member of Congress was surprised to find out about Dorgan's lobbying client after meeting with him on the issue as a think-tank representative, according to a person with direct knowledge of the meeting. He also spoke to an aviation summit two weeks ago and said nothing about his lobbying role.

Dorgan, who served in the Senate from 1992 to 2011, drew $10,000 in the second quarter to lobby for American on "air traffic control reform and related issues," according to a lobbying disclosure. 

The think tank that Politico is referring to is the Washington, DC-based Eno Center for Transportation.  The article does not mention this but Dorgan is also a Senior Fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC).

As witnessed from this story and the recent Brookings-Warren spat (here and here), more and more attention these days is being paid to the blurred lines between think tanks, lobbying, and industry-funded studies.