Don’t look now, but the lobbyists appear to be giving up on Washington — at least when it comes to travel.
Airlines have spent only $11 million lobbying Congress in 2009. Barring a miraculous year-end recovery, they won’t match the record $31 million for 2008.
The top donors so far:
1. American Airlines ($2,880,000)
2. Air Transport Association ($2,570,000)
3. Delta Air Lines ($1,572,468)
Here’s the full list, courtesy of Opensecrets.
Two possible explanations: Either the airlines have given up on getting their way in a Democrat-controlled Congress. Or they’ve run out of people to buy off.
Ditto for hotels.
That’s just over $3 million so far in the catch-all “tourism” category.
Here’s the breakdown:
1. American Automobile Association (AAA) ($702,500)
2. American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) ($700,000)
3. US Travel Association ($596,500)
Here’s the full list.
Again, have these interests given up on Washington?
The only industry that looks like it’s close to being on track is cruise lines, but they’re grouped in with other maritime interests in the sea transport category. It has spent north of $12 million so far this year.
It’s difficult to say with any certainty what is happening here. It would be premature to conclude the special interests are backing off.
With the next election cycle about the begin in the United States, maybe it’s best to take a wait-and-see approach.
(Photo: kga245/Flickr Creative Commons)