Three Democrats in the House are asking inspector general
Calvin Scovel to investigate whether Department of Transportation political
appointees violated federal lobbying laws by advocating for privatization of
the U.S. air traffic control network.
In a letter dated Aug. 3, Peter DeFazio (D.-Ore.), Nita
Lowey (D-N.Y.) and David Price (D-N.C.) accuse at least four political appointees
of contacting members of Congress, aviation associations and airports to lobby
for the privatization plan, which is contained in the House's 2018 FAA
reauthorization bill. Contacts were made via phone and email, they say.
Such actions could violate the Anti-Lobbying Act, which
prohibits the use of federal dollars for the purpose of influencing members of
The letter doesn't identify the four DOT appointees.
President Trump has thrown his support behind the
privatization proposal, which would transfer management of air traffic control
from the FAA to a nonprofit corporation overseen a by an appointed board.
The Democrats also more broadly accuse the DOT of inappropriate
lobbying activity in relation to air traffic control reform, including
establishing the website SmartSkies.gov and posting on Facebook and Twitter "with
the unambiguous intent of encouraging members of the public to support ATC
"Even when viewed in the light most favorable, these
e-mails, phone calls and other activities are highly irregular at best," the