White House Drops Transportation Nominee After GOP Pushback

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The White House is dropping the nomination of Robert Hampshire to be an assistant secretary of transportation for research and technology.

President Joe Biden first tapped Hampshire for the role in 2021 and renominated him last year after his confirmation process stalled amid questions from Republicans about overdue tax filings.

A White House spokesperson told Bloomberg Government his nomination is no longer moving forward, but that the administration was grateful he would continue to serve as principal deputy assistant secretary for research and technology at the Department of Transportation. Hampshire has promoted the department’s efforts to reduce traffic deaths through connected car technology.

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg
Robert Hampshire, who President Joe Biden nominated for assistant secretary of transportation, speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on June 24, 2021.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced in 2021 he had designated the assistant secretary for research and technology as the department’s first chief science officer in four decades. Buttigieg said he was “thrilled” to give Hampshire the title at the time.

The Department of Transportation didn’t respond to a request for comment.

At a nomination hearing for Hampshire in June 2021, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said he had a “commendable academic and professional record,” but that he was “deeply concerned” about Hampshire’s failure to file federal, state, and local tax returns “in a timely manner” for four years, and then filing them several years late. The panel never advanced his nomination.

“Dr. Hampshire has been nominated to a position of trust and responsibility in the United States government,” Wicker, who was then ranking member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, said during the hearing. “Filing tax returns when due and paying taxes when owed is one of the most basic legal and civic duties in our democracy.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Lillianna Byington in Washington at lbyington@bloombergindustry.com; Maria Curi in Washington at mcuri@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sarah Babbage at sbabbage@bgov.com; Anna Yukhananov at ayukhananov@bloombergindustry.com

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