WASHINGTON -- The White House has appointed Jonathan Morrison, a former lobbyist with ties to auto dealerships, as chief counsel of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to his LinkedIn page and two sources with close ties to the agency.
Morrison was president of Auto Advisory Services, which provides consulting services to dealerships on state and federal compliance issues, since March 2014 and a director of the California Automotive Business Coalition.
Prior to joining AAS, Morrison worked eight years as director of legal and regulatory affairs for the California New Car Dealers, where he lobbied state government, according to his biography on the CABC website.
NHTSA continues to have many vacancies at top management positions. President Donald Trump has not nominated anyone to be administrator. Deputy Administrator Heidi King was installed in late September and is running the agency. Still missing are a permanent director of communications and a director of government affairs, among other positions. The lack of political leaders has contributed to NHTSA's slow pace on regulatory issues, consumer groups and former officials say.
Stephen Wood was acting chief counsel until Morrison's appointment.
Morrison, who began work Monday, received his bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame.