, 11 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1/So, former lobbyist and current acting Federal Aviation Administration chief Dan Elwell just testified to a Senate committee about the agency's oversight of airlines.

We have some context to add, namely emails between Elwell and his former lobbyist colleagues:
2/ As he moved through the agency’s ranks, Elwell exchanged dozens of emails with lobbyists and other industry players discussing everything from rolling backing back consumer protections to airport privatization. propub.li/2U4pXTV
3/ Here he is in 2017 telling Sharon Pinkerton, his former colleague and top lobbyist for @AirlinesDotOrg that he’ll “keep an eye on” the airline industry’s efforts to roll back rules on mishandled baggage and extra fees.
4/ Those Obama-era regulations were successfully rolled back weeks later.
5/ Political appointees typically aren’t allowed to participate in issues that involve their former employer or clients. But, as part of a secretive deregulatory team, the rules did not apply to Elwell during his first few months at the FAA.
6/ In April 2017, he needed help with an airport privatization issue. So he asked @JetBlue officials if they had “any luck finding a JetBlue exec we can throw to the lions, er, I mean, introduce to a nice reporter to say nice things about airport privatization?”
7/ “These emails underline why there’s a prohibition on private communications between new federal officials and old lobbying clients,” said @clarkkathleen, a government ethics expert and law professor at @WUSTL.
8/ In a statement, @FAANews said that Elwell “has no reportable conflicts of interest” and, as a special-government employee, “he was subjected to and complied with the same, stringent requirements and was engaged in no activities that posed a conflict of interest.”
9/ The emails show Elwell’s admiration for industry players even during some of their more challenging moments. Remember the viral video of a @United passenger being dragged from his flight to make room for the airline’s own employees?
10 /Afterward, Ewell commended United execs for “taking leadership” of the situation and joked:

“Crossing my fingers for a denied boarding flight. 😁”

This is possibly a reference to the confidential settlement the passenger received.
11/ More about today’s hearing here: propub.li/2U2dXSM

And sign up here to get @ProPublica’s biggest investigations in your inbox: propub.li/2TZ0R9d
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