GOP nominations to FCC coming soon?
President George W. Bush is expected to name a current aide for at least one of the one of two Republican nominations for the Federal Communications Commission, according to numerous media and analysts reports.
Two Republican nominees are needed to fill the FCC seat vacated by former Chairman Michael Powell’s resignation in March and one that soon will be vacated by Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy. Abernathy’s term expired last year, and she will have to leave the commission when Congress adjourns this year unless she is reappointed—something Abernathy has not indicated she wants.
Analyst firm Legg Mason today issued a report tagging Bush aide Richard Russell and former Tennessee state commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate as the leading candidates for the GOP nominations.
Russell reportedly has been a strong advocate for spectral efficiency, which could be encouraging to a wireless industry hoping to clear TV broadcasters from the 700 MHz band, the Legg Mason report indicates. As a state regulator, Tate—reportedly supported by Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.)—expressed support for largely deregulatory policies involving communications providers.
Other potential nominees are longtime Bush aide Michael Meece and former Louisiana senatorial candidate Suzanne Haik Terrell.
Currently a special assistant to the president and deputy director in the White House’s public liaison office, Meece dealt with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as a Commerce Department staffer and worked for Bush during his tenure as governor of Texas, according to media reports.
Many presidential nominations have been stymied amid fierce partisan politics in the Senate, but Legg Mason’s report speculated that the Republican FCC nominations could be approved in return for the renomination of Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. Most sources believe the FCC nominations will be announced within the next week, possibly as early as today.