Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

Cruise Line Moves to Avoid Rocky Waters

Carnival Cruise Lines announced yesterday a $300 million program to enhance operating reliability. This follows a blistering March 14 letter from Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, that expressed deep concerns about safety. Carnival, at first, gave the impression it would not reimburse the government for certain costs related to the Coast Guard and Navy assistance to Carnival accidents. Carnival announced on 4/16 that it would voluntarily submit payments to reimburse the government. Carnival North America Inc. reported yesterday it spent $409,000 on lobbying during the first quarter of 2013 on emission control, cruise ship safety customs and border protection.

In his letter Sen. Rockefeller mentioned the his 2012 hearings on the cruise line industry and the testimony of the president of the Cruise Lines International Association. The association used to spend $400,000 to $600,000 on lobbying each quarter. For the first quarter of 2013, Alcalde & Fay reported today it was paid $310,000 for lobbying the members and staff of the House transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Senate Commerce Committee and other interested congressional offices to discuss cruise industry issues.

There are only about 15 clients, such as the Cruise Lines International Association, that pay outside lobbying firms an amount of $300,000 or greater per quarter. Most companies and organizations do not rely on one lobbying firm, but spread the work among several firms in order to have wider and more diverse connections into Capitol Hill.

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