Brakes applied on FCC merry-go-round


An attempt to trade renominations of sitting FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein (D) and Deborah Taylor Tate (R) for the guaranteed rapid exit of Chairman Kevin Martin (R), should Democrats capture the White House 11/4/08, has been scuttled by Martin, reports Multichannel News. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had been behind the deal, apparently looking to assure that a quick change of command could take place at the Commission, and that Republicans did not enjoy a 3-2 advantage for any length of time under a Democratic administration.

Tate, who was originally nominated to complete the term of Michael Powell, is already operating past here term’s expiration date, and Adelstein’s term is up in June. Both have been renominated by President George W. Bush, and both may remain in office until the end of the current Congress.

RBR/TVBR observation: Traditionally, the FCC Chair gets out of the way and allows the new president to put his own choice in the position. In this instance, Multichannel sources say Martin is concerned that the 8th Floor may need to remain intact since something like the DTV deadline may require action, and that he should be available even if it is as a regular rank and file commissioner again.

It is also traditional to grant leeway to the opposition party as to their representatives on the 8th Floor, since each party is guaranteed such representation. We know of no particular animosity on the Hill generated by either Adelstein or Tate, so if not for the presidential politicking in progress, either would probably be a shoo-in for congressional confirmation.

One thing is for sure: Adelstein will be an excellent source of coaching for Tate. Although he has been complimented widely by members of both parties, he seems to have found himself, thought no fault of his own, in the role of political football every time his nomination has been pending. It looks like he may be headed there again.