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K Street Files: Airline Group Lands New Staffer, Lawsuit; Former Senators Lobbying

The lobby group for the U.S. airline industry has added a former Federal Aviation Administration policy wonk: Dan Elwell is deplaning at Airlines for America as senior vice president of safety, security and operations. He will report to A4A’s chief, Nicholas Calio.

Elwell, who previously served as the FAA’s assistant administrator for aviation policy, planning and environment, most recently worked at the Aerospace Industries Association, where he was vice president of civil aviation. He knows his way around a cockpit, too. He is a former captain with American Airlines and a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, where he flew combat missions in Operation Desert Storm.

“Dan is uniquely qualified for this role at A4A, with an unmatched combination of operational, government and policy experience,” A4A President and CEO Calio said in a statement. “He is highly regarded with strong relationships in the airline industry, on the Hill and within the Administration, and will be a key advocate as we work to advance a National Airline Policy and continue to improve the efficiency of the air transportation management system.”

Meanwhile, the lobby group has found itself the subject of a discrimination law suit filed by a gay employee, according to a report in the Washington Blade. The story said that A4A auditor Stephen Farina alleges that he was underpaid and subjected to derogatory comments, including being called “fag,” by his supervisor, who is not named in the story.

A spokesman for A4A did not immediately provide a comment, but a spokeswoman told the Blade: “A4A does not tolerate discrimination in any form and intends to vigorously dispute these allegations.”

Not Afraid to Lobby

Some former Members of Congress shy away from the “L” label that comes with being a federally registered lobbyist. But not former Sen. Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah.

According to a news report in the Salt Lake Tribune, Bennett, fresh off his two-year cooling-off period, intends to register. He works at both Arent Fox and his own shop, the Bennett Group.

“Lobbying is a constitutionally sanctioned activity, right in the First Amendment next to freedom of the press,” Bennett told the Tribune. “I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t exercise my constitutional rights.”

He also noted in the interview that the two-year ban was a “really bad idea” that punishes ex-Senators.

Another former lawmaker, ex-Sen. Christopher S. Bond, R-Mo., is signing on to help Kansas City. Kit Bond Strategies picked up the federal lobbying contract previously held by the firm Polsinelli Shughart, according to the Kansas City Star.

K Street Moves

Lobbyist Singleton McAllister has joined Williams Mullen’s D.C. office as a partner in the federal government relations practice. Most recently, she was in the government practice at Blank Rome.

McAllister focuses on lobbying, telecommunications, health care, education and international business development.

“Singleton brings our legal and lobbying clients her depth and breadth of experience, trusted relationships, and a personal interest and acumen in international economic development,” said Mike Ferrell, who chairs the federal government relations group at Williams Mullen.

Please send tips to kstreet@rollcall.com.

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