The American Trucking Associations has donated more than $800,000 to political campaigns so far in the 2018 election cycle, according to publicly available data from the Federal Election Commission, making it the largest contributor among trucking industry affiliates. That number is on par with ATA’s contributions in the 2016 election cycle, when it donated $802,000, but less than 2014’s $924,000. ATA’s contributions topped $1 million in 2012.
ATA’s biggest benefactor this election cycle, according to FEC’s data, is Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), who’s seeking reelection in a tough race in California’s 10th district. ATA has donated $20,000 to Denham, who has been a proponent in Congress of a measure strongly backed by ATA in recent years to rein in states’ authority to enact meal and rest break laws for drivers. Denham also intends to run for chairman of the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he said this week.
ATA has contributed $120,000 to the campaign committees of the Republicans and Democrats, donating $30,000 each to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“We deliver a common message to Congress and candidates seeking office: America’s trucking industry is essential to a strong and growing economy. Roads are nonpartisan; we all use and rely on them—Republicans and Democrats alike,” said Bill Sullivan, ATA’s Executive Vice President of Advocacy, in response to a query from CCJ about how ATA decides which candidates to contribute to. “When ATA takes a seat at the table, we are eager and willing to work with anyone who shares our goal of creating a vibrant freight economy and safety on our nation’s highways. We’ll continue to work with policymakers from both sides of the aisle as our industry works to move America forward.”
ATA has also donated $17,500 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who isn’t up for reelection this year, having last been elected in 2014 to a six-year Senate term. It’s also given $12,500 to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who’s retiring from Congress.
Other top ATA benefactors include lawmakers on the House’s Transportation Committee, including Oregon Democrats Reps. Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer — both long-time ranking members on the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. DeFazio has received $15,000 from ATA; Blumenauer $10,000.
Another ranking member, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), has received $11,000 from ATA.
Rep. Sam Graves, the favorite to take the helm as head of the House’s Transportation Committee, has also received $10,000 from ATA.
ATA has also donated $10,000 to President Donald Trump’s political action committee, the Fund for a Greater America.