Follow the Money: Taxi companies still lead rest of the transportation industry in campaign cash to lawmakers

By Megan Messerly and Riley Snyder

When Nevada lawmakers quietly introduced a measure requiring mandatory 15-minute wait times for ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, public outcry and intense pressure helped spike the bill in less than 48 hours.

The measure revealed the first public side of a long-simmering tension in the transportation industry between taxi companies — well-funded political heavyweights in state politics — and upstart companies such as Uber, which taxi companies blame for the immense drop in their ridership.

And after a contentious 2015 session where legislators approved regulations allowing ride-sharing companies to operate in the wee hours of a Saturday morning despite heavy opposition from taxi lobbyists, a similar battle is likely brewing in 2017 with several bills affecting “transportation network companies” (TNCs) coming down the pipeline.

But the fight between the taxi companies and TNCs is far from the only transportation-related issue before the Legislature this session. Lawmakers are considering bills from whether to give tax abatements to certain airplane businesses to the makeup of the crews of freight trains.

In total, major companies in the transportation industry gave Nevada lawmakers $534,450 ahead of the 2016 election, with the biggest donations going to Democratic candidates. Taxi companies largely dominated donations from the transportation industry ($327,000), with other large chunks of campaign cash coming from groups representing truckers and auto dealers.

Democrats received the bulk of donations from transportation companies, reporting contributions of almost $375,000, with Republicans taking in a total $157,200. But they received even more of a lion’s share of donations from the taxi industry, raking in $275,250 during the 2016 campaign cycle compared to the $44,700 Republicans took in over the same period.

Both sides are employing scores of well-connected lobbyists — at least 14 have registered to represent Uber including the firms of Argentum Partners and the Griffin Company, and six are representing Lyft, including lobbyists with the law firm of Kaempfer Crowell. But few campaign donations came from those companies during the 2016 election cycle, with Lyft only donating $2,500 to a handful of candidates.

Taxi companies are also well-represented in the halls of the Legislature; Frias Transportation — the largest taxi donor — is represented by six lobbyists including members of Fennemore Craig law firm and The Ferraro Group. Yellow Checker Star Transportation, another major donor, has five registered lobbyists, including former lawmakers Warren Hardy and William Horne.

Below, we’ve totaled all of the donations made to members of the Legislature by the major transportation companies. As always, we’ve triple checked our numbers and math, but if anything seems off feel free to contact us at rsnyder@thenvindy.com or megan@thenvindy.com.

TOP 5 TRANSPORTATION MONEY RECIPIENTS:

  • Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford: $31,500
  • Senator Kelvin Atkinson: $27,500
  • Senator Mark Manendo: $25,500
  • Senator Joyce Woodhouse: $23,500
  • Senator Nicole Cannizzaro: $20,000

TAXI COMPANIES: $327,200

Frias Transportation Management: $136,000

  • $10,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $8,500 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $6,000 to Senator David Parks (D)
  • $6,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $6,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $6,000 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $6,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $6,000 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $6,000 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $6,000 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $6,000 to Senator Tick Segerblom (D)
  • $5,500 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $5,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $4,000 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $3,500 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Heidi Swank (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury (R)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)
  • $2,250 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $2,250 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $2,250 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $2,250 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Amber Joiner (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman John Hambrick (R)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Sandra Jauregui (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Will McCurdy (D)

Nellis Cab, along with its owner Raymond Chenoweth and his wife Elaine Chenoweth: $47,000

  • $10,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $5,000 to Assemblyman John Ellison (R)
  • $5,000 to Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $5,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator James Settelmeyer (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)

Nevada Yellow Cab: $38,500

  • $5,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $5,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $4,500 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $3,000 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $1,500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $1,500 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $1,500 to Senator Patricia Farley (NP)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Heidi Swank (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $750 to Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D)
  • $500 to Senator David Parks (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Justin Watkins (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)

Whittlesea Blue Cab: $35,000

  • $5,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $2,500 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $2,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante-Adams (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Yvanna Cancela (D)
  • $500 to Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $500 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Will McCurdy (D)

Henderson Taxi: $30,500

  • $5,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $2,500 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $1,500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Yvanna Cancela (D)
  • $500 to Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D)
  • $500 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Justin Watkins (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D)

Bell Trans: $19,500

  • $5,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $1,500 to Senator Becky Harris (R)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $1,500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $1,500 to Senator Patricia Farley (NP)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Keith Pickard (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)

Desert Cab: $14,000

  • $2,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $1,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Daniele-Monroe-Moreno (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Justin Watkins (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D)
  • $500 to ASsemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)

Western Cab Company: $1,500

  • $500 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $500 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)

Reno Tahoe Limousine: $700

  • $700 to Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)

TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANIES: $2,500

Lyft: $2,500

  • $1,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $500 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)

OTHER TRANSPORTATION COMPANIES: $201,000

Nevada Trucking Association: $82,000

  • $10,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $7,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $5,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $5,000 to Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)
  • $5,000 to Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (R)
  • $5,000 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $4,500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $4,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $3,500 to Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)
  • $3,000 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)
  • $3,000 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $2,500 to Senator Becky Harris (R)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman James Marchant (R)
  • $2,500 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Robin Titus (R)
  • $1,500 to Assemblyman Al Kramer (R)
  • $1,500 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $1,500 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $1,500 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblyman Richard McArthur (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Heidi Swank (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman John Ellison (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)

Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association: $55,000

  • $5,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $4,750 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $4,000 to Assemblyman Keith Pickard (R)
  • $3,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $2,750 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Robin Titus (R)
  • $1,750 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $1,500 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $1,250 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator David Parks (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D)
  • $1,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Paul Anderson (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Al Kramer (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Jim Marchant (R)
  • $500 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $250 to Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D)
  • $250 to Assemblyman Will McCurdy (D)

Union Pacific Railroad: $26,000

  • $2,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $2,000 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $1,500 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman John Hambrick (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator David Parks (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Al Kramer (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Amber Joiner (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman John Ellison (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Robin Titus (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $500 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $500 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Heidi Swank (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $500 to Senator Tick Segerblom (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)

Enterprise Holdings: $23,000

  • $4,000 to Assemblyman Paul Anderson (R)
  • $3,000 to Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R)
  • $3,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $3,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)
  • $2,000 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)

Toyota Motor Credit Corporation: $11,500

  • $2,000 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $1,500 to Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R)
  • $1,500 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Tick Segerblom (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $750 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $750 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)

Reno Dodge: $5,000

  • $5,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)

Southwest Airlines: $4,000

  • $500 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $500 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $500 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $500 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $250 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $250 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $250 to Assemblyman John Hambrick (R)
  • $250 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $250 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $250 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $250 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $250 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)

LKQ Corp Employee Good Government Fund: $2,500

  • $1,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)