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October 25, 2018 1:30 PM, EDT

Top For-Hire Carriers Contribute to Freight Congressional Leaders in Midterms

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UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp., the top two for-hire carriers in North America, have contributed to the re-election efforts of freight transportation leaders from both parties in Congress, according to a review of public records.

In 2018, UPS Inc.’s political action committee contributed $75,000 to the re-election efforts of candidates on congressional transportation panels or who represent key freight corridors, according to the Federal Election Commission. The FedEx Corp. political action committee, meanwhile, contributed $64,000 this year to those candidates.

UPS logo

For instance, UPS contributed to Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.), that subpanel’s ranking member Del. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D.C.) and T&I members Reps. Brian Babin (R-Texas), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.). Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) also received contributions.

In the Senate, UPS contributed to Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), and the panel’s ranking member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), as well as Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Deb Fischer (R-Neb.). Commerce Committee members Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference Roy Blunt of Missouri, Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) received contributions as well. That committee has jurisdiction over freight transportation.

UPS also contributed to Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Tom Carper (D-Del.), and panel member Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Energy and Natural Resources Committee member Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Appropriations Committee members Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs ranking member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and panel member Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), as well as Finance Committee members Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

FedEx logo

For FedEx’s PAC, FEC records showed contributions to House Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, Transportation and Infrastructure panel ranking member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), and panel members Reps. Babin, Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Graves of Missouri, Lawrence and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.).

During this session of Congress, LaMalfa raised concerns on behalf of livestock haulers regarding electronic logging devices. Diaz-Balart also received contributions.

On the other side of the Capitol, FedEx contributed to Appropriations Committee member Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Energy and Natural Resources Committee member Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Sens. Carper, Klobuchar, Cruz, Fischer and Nelson.

From Jan. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018, UPS Inc.’s PAC contributed more than $5 million for the upcoming elections, while FedEx’s PAC contributed a total of $2.3 million, according to the FEC.

UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp., are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest North American for-hire carriers.

The Center for Responsive Politics, relying on a review of federal records of political action committees and individual contributions, found that during this election cycle UPS donated to 158 House Democrats. Those candidates received an average contribution of $3,647, totaling $576,230. UPS contributed to 220 Republican members of the House. They received an average contribution of $5,737 from the firm, totaling $1,262,358.

In the Senate, three dozen Democrats received an average contribution of $3,884 from UPS, for a total of $139,837. Forty-one Republicans received an average contribution of $2,354, totaling $96,540. The top recipients were Republican Reps. Karen Handel of Georgia, Martha Roby of Alabama and Kevin McCarthy of California. McCarthy is the chamber’s majority leader.

For FedEx, the CRP found that the company donated to 80 House Democrats during this election cycle for an average contribution of $2,423. That totaled $193,848. Then, 129 Republican House members received an average contribution of $4,093, totaling $527,999. Thirty-three Senate Democrats received an average contribution of $2,899, for a total of $95,691. Meanwhile, 20 Republican senators received an average contribution of $4,958. That totaled $99,165.

FedEx’s top recipients were Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), a member of the Commerce Committee, and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the outgoing chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is vying for Corker’s seat. The Cook Political Report listed Blackburn’s race versus former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen (D) as a true “toss-up.”

The Cook Political Report classified Sen. Nelson’s re-election contest versus Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott, as well as Sen. Cruz’s re-election fight against Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) as “toss-ups.” Nelson received a total of $8,500 from the UPS and FedEx PACs this year. Cruz received a total of $6,000 from the two this year, FEC records found.