The next time you want government to ‘do something’ to protect you from the airlines, consider how likely it is that anything they do will actually get written in a way to accomplish that (assuming such a thing were even possible).
Congressman Bill Shuster and House Transportation Committee Chair — son of former Congressman and House Transportation Committee Chair Bud Shuster — has been having an affair since last summer with the Airlines for America Vice President for Global Government Affairs. (Affairs. Get it?)
Airlines for America, the trade group for major US carriers, has been aware of the relationship and promises that she does not lobby Congressman Shuster, they don’t need to, since their President is so close to the Chairman already.
There is, apparently, nothing against the rules about this.
House ethics rules do not prohibit Shuster from working on issues affecting A4A. Conflict-of-interest rules don’t prohibit family members, including spouses, from lobbying lawmakers, although members are barred from taking action on an issue in which they have a direct financial stake. Other romantic relationships are not addressed in the House Ethics Manual.
Somewhat ironically (or not) former Congressman Bud Shuster resigned his seat amidst a scandal over gifts involving a lobbyist. That’s when Bill Shuster won his seat, and apparently went on to develop a reputation for carousing with lobbyists.
It isn’t the first time Bill Shuster’s personal interactions with female lobbyists have been an issue. He was said to be among a half-dozen congressmen then-Minority Leader Boehner spoke to about partying with female lobbyists at a Capitol Hill townhouse, according to news reports in 2010.
For what it’s worth, Shuster’s Chief of Staff is married to the Airlines for America Senior Vice President of Government Relations.