Bud Shuster

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Bud Shuster
Bud Shuster profile.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 9th district
In office
January 3, 1973 - February 3, 2001[1]
Preceded by John H. Ware III
Succeeded by Bill Shuster
Personal details
Born Elmer Greinert Shuster
(1932-01-23) January 23, 1932 (age 82)
Glassport, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) H. Patricia Rommel
Signature

Elmer Greinert "Bud" Shuster (born January 23, 1932) is an American politician who represented Pennsylvania in the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from 1973 to 2001. He is best known for his advocacy of transportation projects.

Early life and career[edit]

Shuster was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Glassport, Pennsylvania, the son of Grace (née Greinert) and Prather Leroy Shuster.[2] He received his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954, where he became a member of Sigma Chi, an M.B.A. from Duquesne University in 1960, and a Ph.D. from American University in 1967. Shuster's official congressional biography states that he served in the United States Army from 1954 to 1956. However, he was the author of several books, one of which was titled Believing in America published in 1983. In this book Shuster states that he was the class president at the University of Pittsburgh and was recruited by the local CIA office on campus and that this was his actual first employment. Shuster describes his role as that of infiltrating civil rights groups eerily similar to COINTELPRO operations of the FBI. Shuster claimed that communist groups were penetrating the civil rights movement to provoke the police into attacking the demonstrators who were marching for equal rights for African-Americans. He claimed communist did this to embarrass the United States in front of the world. His book completely contradicts his later claims to have been in the military. After leaving behind college and military life, Shuster entered the business world. He became a vice-president at RCA, and he made a fortune when he started his own computer business. In 1972, he defeated popular state senator D. Elmer Hawbaker of Mercersburg in the Republican primary for Congress and was elected that November.

In Congress[edit]

In Congress, Shuster was one of the opponents of the automobile airbag and ran for the position of Minority Whip in 1980, losing to Trent Lott. Shuster chaired the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure from 1995 to 2001.

Shuster was frequently unopposed for re-election. His most notable challenger came in 1984 when Nancy Kulp, the actress who played Miss Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies won the Democratic nomination. Kulp, a native of Pennsylvania, had returned to her home state upon her retirement from acting and received support from her friends in Hollywood. This prompted Shuster to recruit Kulp's Hillbillies co-star Buddy Ebsen, a Republican, to record radio spots declaring, "Hey Nancy, I love you dearly but you're too liberal for me — I've got to go with Bud Shuster." Shuster went on to win re-election with two-thirds of the vote.

Shuster is best known for taking on his party leadership and President Bill Clinton in the 1990s to keep more of the taxes on motor fuels and air travel in the dedicated federal trust funds they were supposed to go to by law. Shuster won both battles, even though then-Speaker Newt Gingrich and Clinton united to oppose him, wanting to keep the funds available for borrowing for other programs.{Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Jan. 7, 2001}.

Those victories meant during his time as chairman numerous transportation projects were funded, including Interstate 99, the only Interstate highway to have its route number (a violation of the usual Interstate numbering standard) written into law. The route was later named the "Bud Shuster Highway" by Governor Robert Casey. When the transportation authorization bill known by its initials as "BESTEA" was under consideration, his fellow members joked the letters stood for the "Bud E. Shuster Transportation for All Eternity Act" for its many "pork barrel" projects.

In 1996, Shuster was the focus of an ethics investigation by the Congressional Accountability Project stemming from the complex relationship between Representative Shuster and Ann Eppard, a former Shuster aide turned lobbyist, and Rep. Shuster's interventions with federal agencies on behalf of a business partner of his sons.

In 1998 Eppard was indicted for taking bribes to influence federal action on Boston's Big Dig highway construction project. In addition, she was accused of having embezzled money from Shuster's reelection committee when she served as its assistant treasurer.[3] In 1999 Eppard pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of receiving improper compensation and paid a $5,000 fine.[4] Eppard died on December 24, 2005.[5]

Resignation[edit]

Shuster resigned from Congress on February 3, 2001, claiming health problems but also due to a Republican policy of term limitations on House Committee chairs, meaning that he could no longer chair the Transportation and Infrastructure committee. He was succeeded by his son Bill, elected in a special election that May.

After politics[edit]

Shuster retired from politics, but he serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania, from which he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Publications[edit]

  • Shuster, Bud (1983). Believing in America. New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-688-01834-3. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shuster, Bud (January 4, 2001). "Bud Shuster Announces Retirement" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2001-01-11. 
  2. ^ http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~battle/reps/shuster.htm
  3. ^ Charles R. Babcock and Eric Pianin, Ex-Aide to Rep. Shuster Indicted, Washington Post, April 10, 1998
  4. ^ Associated Press, Former Shuster Aide, Lobbyist Plead Guilty, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 2, 1999
  5. ^ Altoona Mirror, Obituary, Ann M. Eppard, December 27, 2005

Additional resources[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John H. Ware III
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 9th congressional district

1973–2001
Succeeded by
Bill Shuster
Political offices
Preceded by
Norman Mineta
California
Chairman of House Transportation Committee
1995–2001
Succeeded by
Don Young
Alaska