One reason American Airlines may have given to Tom DeLay’s (R-TX) legal defense fund: DeLay opposed and fought against post-9/11 legislation which would have mandated security training for flight attendants, an expensive measure the airlines opposed. From Campaign Money Watch:
The initial version of the legislation, as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, included language mandating flight attendants to obtain security training in the post-9/11 environment. The measure was supported by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and it directed the federal officials to establish minimum guidelines for security training that all flight attendants would be required to complete.
But, according to the AFA, as the compromise was hammered out between the House and the Senate, a provision that weakened the security training — by making it voluntary, not mandatory — was “ordered to be inserted” by DeLay.
Airlines had opposed the requirement, complaining about its cost, and they apparently found an ally in the Majority Leader. “Found” may be the wrong word. The airline industry has contributed $159,000 since 1997 to Tom DeLay’s congressional candidate committee.
In a post-9/11 world, flight attendants said at the time that for some of them, the only option is to pay for the security training out of their own pockets.