The Shusters: All in the family

 Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) left. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) at left. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

One surefire way to get an issue in front of a congressional committee? Hire a lobbyist with the same last name as the chairman.

In the transportation world, the Shuster surname is as golden as the Kennedys. So it’s little wonder that companies looking to infiltrate Capitol Hill would turn to a law firm that employs a Shuster.

Last time we checked in with Robert Shuster – brother to Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, and son of Bud Shuster (known for unapologetically shoveling money at Pennsylvania public works projects when he chaired the same panel in the mid-to-late 1990s) — he’d been hired by the town of Chevy Chase as a lawyer against the Purple Line light rail project.

Now another Shuster client has the undivided attention of brother Bill’s committee. The president of Canada Steamship Lines, which lobbying disclosure data tells us has hired Shuster to lobby Congress on its behalf, testified Tuesday before a T&I subcommittee.

The short sea shipping operation opposes new Environmental Protection Agency fuel emission standards.

Shuster e-mailed us to say he’s only had “very limited” action with the steamship lines, and he told them, as he tells all clients, “that I do not and will not lobby my brother.”

But when transportation is the family business, it’s hard to imagine shipping issues aren’t the focus of dinner-time chatter around the Thanksgiving table.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz · March 4