Did a Congressman's Girlfriend Skip Her Own Christmas Party to Minimize His Negative Press?

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Shuster says Donald Trump has told him that he likes the idea of spinning off air traffic control operations from the government and placing them under the control of a private, non-profit corporation chartered by Congress. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Pennsylvania Rep. and House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster has been dating the chief lobbyist for Airlines for America, Shelley Rubino, for awhile now. The relationship has been a persistent political liability for Shuster, who only barely won his 2016 primary in which he was attacked over it, because it turns out that Shuster’s #1 legislative priority (air traffic control “privatization”) is also his girlfriend’s employer’s #1 lobbying priority.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Now, it looks like Rubino may have been pushed into skipping her own Christmas party so as not to draw attention to her relationship with Shuster, who Politico reports was a guest. Rubino’s name is not mentioned among those “spotted” by Politico’s tipster (likely one of Airlines for America’s staff, knowing how these “spotted” items in Politico newsletters usually come about):

SPOTTED: At Airlines for America‘s holiday party Wednesday night in the Capitol, according to a PI tipster: Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), Brian J. Mast (R-Fla.), Garret Graves (R-La.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), John Larson (D-Conn.), Jason Lewis (R-Minn.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Mike Capuano (D-Mass.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.); Michael Huerta, the Federal Aviation Administration’s administrator; D.J. Gribbin, the special assistant to the president for infrastructure policy; Bailey Edwards and Mohsin Syed of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; Nick Dhimitri of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s office; Holly Woodruff LyonsMatt Sturges and Chris Vieson of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Brandon Consolvo of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy‘s office; and Nick CalioSean KennedyChristine Burgeson and Sharon Pinkerton of Airlines for America.

Rubino’s boss, Nick Calio, is mentioned. Shuster, Calio and Rubino last year were reported to have gone on a swanky Miami junket together right after Shuster’s committee moved his FAA reform bill out of committee.

Shuster and Rubino have both claimed she does not “lobby” him.

Of course, it’s possible Rubino did not attend her employer’s Christmas party due to illness or another conflict. It’s also possible that she did attend it, but Politico’s tipster just failed to name check her (perhaps deliberately, to avoid attention focusing on her relationship with Shuster).