Investigation Finds Illegal Lobbying At Office Of Motor Carriers
January 22, 1999
George Reagle likes truckers. As head of the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Motor Carriers, he encouraged communication between the agency and the trucking industry. But apparently he took it too far.
The Department of Transportation’s inspector general released a report last Thursday concluding that the OMC broke the law by asking trucking companies to lobby Congress on its behalf.
Last year, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-VA, sponsored legislation to move the OMC out of FHWA and into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The legislation was defeated after heavy lobbying by the trucking industry – lobbying, it turns out, that OMC officials encouraged.
Senior officials in the OMC reportedly drafted and edited letters last year for trucking associations and personally lobbied several large companies to combat the change. One of those officials was Reagle, who was replaced last week by Julie Anna Cirillo, a 21-year agency veteran. Reagle has been reassigned as an advisor to Administrator Kenneth Wykle.
Following the release of the report, Wolf held a press conference renewing his call to move the OMC or replace it with a separate administration.
“Fifteen people die every day in crashes with heavy trucks – the equivalent of a major airline crash every two weeks,” said Wolf, who is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation. “Can you imagine how major a news story it would be if a plane crashed every two weeks?”