Technology Politics in the Obama Administration: The FCC
Now that Obama has shown his cards on a lot of nominations to techie federal agencies, as well as started fleshing out his own staff, now seems like a good time to take a snapshot of the folks advising the President on tech policy, and those regulating the tech industry. This will be a series of posts taking a closer look at the makeup of the politicians and political staff that will be regulating the industry. We’ll start out at my home, the FCC.
Federal Communications Commission – the players:
- Acting Chairman Michael Copps (D) – a former history professor who has been at the Commission since 2001
- Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein (D) – former Senate staffer who has been at the Commission since 2002, but will be leaving the Commission in the near future to head the Rural Utilities Service
- Commissioner Robert McDowell (R) – on the Commission since 2006, formerly a business executive in the telecom industry
- Julius Genachowski (D) – (nominated, but not yet confirmed) a former FCC general counsel who is actively involved on the web side of the tech industry, board memberfor a number of web sites and founder of LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures
- Mignon Clyburn (D) – (nominated, but not yet confirmed) South Carolina Public service
Senator Rockefeller has stated that he plans to have held a hearing on Genachowski and Clyburn by the Memorial Day break. This may be complicated by the lack of a nominee for the second Republican position on the Commission. Several legislators have their favorite candidate for the spot, but as of yet have been unable to reach agreement. Senate Republicans have stated that the Genachowski nomination won’t go through unless paired with a Republican counterpart. Throwing a little more uncertainty into the mix is the state of Commissioner McDowell. His term is up this coming June and may either be replaced or reconfirmed.
The final makeup of the Commission is far from certain, but we have a rough idea of how things are going. With the DTV transition finalized in June and significant broadband work to be done, staff are anxious to figure out the final makeup of the Commission.