Former representative Fred B. Rooney, who received almost $40,000 from transportation groups during his unsuccessful reelection campaign, is being considered by the White House for a seat on the Interstate Commerce Commission, the agency that regulates the railroad and trucking industries.
Rooney, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was chairman of the House subcommittee on transportation and commerce, was one of 24 incumbent House members defeated for reelection last Nov. 7.
According to information supplied to the Federal Election Commission, major contributions to Rooney's campaign included $5,000 from the railway clerks union; $5,000 from the United Transportation Union; $3,500 from the National Automobile Dealers Association; $1,500 from the Southern Railway System; $1,000 from the Southern Pacific Co.; $1,000 from the Chessie System; $1,000 from Greyhound; $500 from the American Trucking Associations; $500 from the Freight Forwarders Institute, and others from rails and shippers affected by ICC decisions.
Altogether, about three-fifths of the more than $64,000 reported by Rooney to the FEC came from transportation interests. Slightly more than half the $42,000 in contributions reported during his 1976 campaign also came from transportation interests.
Contacted at his Washington home, Rooney said he didn't know whether the White House was seriously considering him for the ICC post, or if he would take the job if offered, but acknowledged he has been contacted about it. "They asked me whether I was interested in it," he said. "I told them I would discuss, it with them."
As to whether it would be appropriate to take a seat on an agency whose actions could affect his past contributors, Rooney said, "That's why I've always advocated government-financed congressional campaigns. All my votes have been that way."
He noted that his campaign had received contributions from the barge lines, the trucking industry and the railroads, none of which see "eyeball to eyeball" on the issues, as well as contributions from "every walk of life."
The White House is nearing completion of a package of ICC appointments that administration sources hope will produce a more vigorous agency willing to take administrative actions to encourage competition in the rail and trucking industries at the same time that Congress debates legislation to do the same thing.
Other names being mentioned for the ICC include Constance L. Abrams, deputy chief counsel of the Federal Railroad Administration; Philip J. Bakes, general counsel of the Civil Aeronautics Board and a former aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.); George M. Chandler, director of the ICC's policy review office; George Eads, former assistant director of the Council on Wage and Price Stability and now with the Rand Corp.; Bernard Gaillard, director of the ICC's smail business assistance office; Bernard Gaskins, deputy assistant energy secretary for policy analysis who has held key positions at the CAB and Federal Trade Commission; Reginald Gilliam, legislative assistant to Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio), and Tad Trantum, New York securities analyst whose specialty has been regulated transportation.
Theoretically, there are six openings on the 11-member ICC but the White House has let the membership decline because 11 is considered unwieldy. The ICC currently has six incumbents although the term of one -- Virginia Mae Brown -- has expired and she has continued to sit until the White House decides whether to rename or replace her. It is considered unlikely that she will be reappointed.
Arnie Miller, director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, declined to confirm any of the names being considered for the ICC posts. He said a decision had not yet been made on whether to appoint two or four new members but said that decision, and the names, would be made soon.