OOIDA makes addition to overpaid lobbying staff in DC as membership and influence in Washington continues to decline

Ben Siegrist - Associate Director of Legislative Affairs for OOIDA
Ben Siegrist is OOIDA’s newest Washington DC lobbyist according to a press release by the association – Photo Credit OOIDA Staff Photo

The Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) announced Friday the addition of Ben Siegrist as the Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs in the Washington, DC, office, joining Laura O’Neil as some of the highest paid and most ineffectual employees in the OOIDA hierarchy.

Siegrist worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, working with both the presidential and vice presidential candidate teams and was also a member of former Sen. Jim DeMint’s staff. Wingnuttery at it’s finest and he should feel right at home with the rest of OOIDA management.


We’ve all become accustomed to OOIDA “shading” the truth so this should come as no surprise to many of my readers.

Everyone is accustomed to seeing

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is a trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members in the United States and Canada

added to all of their press releases, court filings etc. But how true is that statement? From what we’ve been able to determine, not very.

OOIDA has apparently been losing members steadily over the past few years as their association operates in the red.

In 2007, when OOIDA was using the late Dale Sommers and other radio talkers to push their agenda of misinformation and fear against Mexican trucks, Mexico, and the Mexican Cross Border Demonstration program, OOIDA claimed a membership rise to the neighborhood of 160,000 members, as reflected on their website, information since removed.

Six years later, they are claiming 147,000 until recently when they bumped it up to 150,000. But based on their IRS form 990’s, which they are required to file annually, and which we have copies of, that number is vastly overstated.

According to the 990’s, for 2010 OOIDA claimed $2.85 million in membership dues revenue and in 2009, $2.7. Using these numbers and known factors plus a little guessification, we come up with a vastly different number of members.

And remember, membership equals influence in the arena of Washington politics, something OOIDA is steadily losing by filing their baseless and frivolous lawsuits and using the commenting system against Mexican trucks.


OOIDA has 4 specific sources for membership. The truck show circuit, MATS and GATS which gained them 2300 new members at $25.00 a pop, Truckers for Troops, a very worthy effort where they send care packages to our troops overseas and allow new and existing members to join or renew for $25.00 and for which during their last effort, they gained 3500 new members, radio programs such as Dave Nemo, Road Dog News, Road Dog Live and ATN with Steve Sommers and Bubba Bo and their own propaganda program Landline Now, all which tout OOIDA as the perfect and only solution to every problem US truckers encounter. This also included the late Dale “Trucking Bozo” Sommers who probably snared at least 10,000 into joining OOIDA in recent years. Then of course you have the OOIDA tour truck which has been mothballed for 2.5 years which offers the $25.00 membership deal. Combining all of these gives us about $400,000.00 in dues.

OOIDA also has “Life Memberships” available at an average cost of $200.00. In some quarters, the number 20,000 “Life Members” is tossed around. Is this a true number? Probably not since they are gaming the total membership numbers, it is reasonable to question the veracity of the “life member” totals. But it’s their game, let them play it. Revenue from “Life Memberships”? Here we have to guess, but to favor OOIDA, let’s put it at $200,000.00

When we add those two together, we come up with $600,000.00 in dues revenue.

But then, we’ve also got to consider those who join and pay the full membership price of $45.00. This would include annual renewals in addition to those who don’t know any better. So, by deducting $600,000.00 from the reported total of membership revenue on the 990’s, we come up with a rough estimate of 47,000 to 50,000 paying the full monty. And when we add those to 38,000 estimated who joined with the $25.00 special price, we come up with only 85,000 to 88,000 members which means that OOIDA is fraudulently and knowingly over representing their membership by a whopping 59%. But, these are the kind of underhanded games we’ve come to expect from the association.

Also, when a person dies, they’re kept on the membership rolls for an indeterminate period of time. Likewise, if a person fails to renew his membership, they are also kept on the rolls and counted for at least three years, sometimes longer.


I’ve often written and spoken on the radio about how do members feel about OOIDA wasting their money and resources fighting a perfectly legal program such as the Mexican Truck Cross-Border Program and I’ve received many e-mails from my readers and folks who’ve heard me on SiriusXM Road Dog Channel 106, and the general consensus is

“We don’t like it one damned bit”

While OOIDA has the Cullen Law Firm in Washington DC on retainer and we have no idea what that retainer is, it’s safe to assume when Paul Cullen goes to court for OOIDA, his fees are in the range of $600.00 an hour, perhaps more. And who knows, OOIDA’s lawyers could conceivably be in the Big Law’s $1,000-Plus an Hour Club, which wouldn’t surprise us a bit.

For Fiscal Year Starting: Jan 01, 2010 and ending Dec 31, 2010, OOIDA had total revenue of $4,095,055.00 and total reported expenses of $4,336,635.00 resulting in a net loss of $241,580.00.

Doesn’t it really piss you off that your membership dues are being used for such nonsense when there are a multitude of other issues that really do effect the US trucking community, Mexican trucks not being one of them?

And they’re still playing their games with their latest lawsuit to stop Cross Border trucking with Mexico which is as bogus as the other attempts.