Federal Politics

Published — June 1, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Transportation lobbyist raises money for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s son

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood fake-blocks for President Obama at a GOP retreat. White House

Introduction

A veteran transportation lobbyist is hosting a fundraiser for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s son, a fledgling state senator from Illinois.

The June 13 fundraising event was initially scheduled to be held at the Washington house of lobbyist Bernie Robinson, according to the invitation. But following inquiries by iWatch News, the venue was changed to the Capitol Hill Club.

Robinson, a partner with the lobbying powerhouse Livingston Group, works in the firm’s “Transportation, Shipbuilding, Shipping and Ports” division. He previously served as the chief lobbyist for the State of Illinois, and told iWatch News that his relationship with Sen. LaHood inspired him to set up the fundraiser.

“Darin is my friend and I’m happy to continue to support Darin,” Robinson said. He added that he has hopes for a solid turnout for the event. “As Darin has worked for Congress for four years and for the Department of Justice for five years and has numerous friends in this area, I’m hopeful that they will be able to participate.”

Sen. LaHood served as a congressional aide from 1990-1994 and much of the next decade as a state and district attorney before joining the private law firm of Miller, Hall & Triggs.

Robinson said that he had not invited Secretary LaHood to the event. “My focus has been on friends of Darin’s, Republicans and folks from Illinois who are here,” he said.

When asked if his decision to host the event had anything to do with Ray LaHood’s position as Secretary of Transportation, Robinson replied, “Fortunately I have the opportunity to advocate for clients on a wide variety of issues, including transportation. As I am not a registered lobbyist in Illinois, I have not lobbied Sen. LaHood.”

Sen. LaHood has been seated on the Transportation committee in the state Senate.

Patty Schuh, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Senate Republicans, confirmed with iWatch News that the event was being changed from Robinson’s home.

“To ensure the integrity of his upcoming D.C. event, Sen. LaHood has moved it to the Capitol Hill Club where he hopes many friends from Capitol Hill and the Department of Justice join him,” Schuh said in a statement. “After spending several years working in Washington, D.C., Darin LaHood has a wide network of friends and formers colleagues who have offered to help as he continues his career in public service.”

Schuh said Robinson previously hosted a fundraising event for LaHood at his home in May 2008.

The Livingston Group made at least $280,000 in the first quarter of this year from transportation and construction interests that could be impacted by decisions from the Department of Transportation, according to an iWatch News analysis of lobbying disclosure records. Robinson worked directly on contracts worth at least $1.86 million on a variety of topics, including transportation and construction issues.

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jill Zuckman said in a statement that Secretary LaHood would not be at the fundraiser.

“Secretary LaHood is very proud of his son Darin and the work he is doing representing the people of Peoria in the Illinois Senate,” Zuckman said. “The Secretary is not attending his fundraiser. Sen. LaHood is an elected official in his own right with his own relationships that he established during the time he worked in Washington.”

Invitations to the fundraiser were sent out requesting donations of $250 per individual attendee, $1,000 per PAC attendee and $1,500 for sponsors. Included with the invitation was a newspaper clipping about Sen. LaHood’s swearing in ceremony, which quotes his father and lists his title. All proceeds will go to “Citizens for Darin LaHood,” which will fund LaHood’s announced 2012 election effort. According to FollowTheMoney.org, the average state Senate race in Illinois costs $423,365, although LaHood’s predecessor won re-election with no opposition.

Mary Boyle of Common Cause said that while it’s not unheard of for state senators to come to Washington for fundraisers, it’s far less common than for gubernatorial candidates. She said the fact that local politicians now travel to D.C. speaks to the fact that running for office “is getting more and more expensive, even at the state level, and candidates have to go where the money is.”

Before being tapped by President Obama to head the Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood served seven terms in the House of Representatives from Illinois’ 18th District. His son was appointed by the Republican County chairman in his district at the end of February to fill the seat of retiring State Sen. Dale Risinger. At the time, Secretary LaHood denied havingany impact on his son’s appointment.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Martin Shellabarger
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J. Stevenson, what are you drinking? Trump has more lobbyists in his administration than probably any other president. Trump is totally “for sale”, and the corporations know it. Grow a brain!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.