FCC candidates move through committee


Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai have been recommended to the full Senate as the next FCC Commissioners, by a voice vote of the Senate Commerce Committee. However, one senator still isn’t buying it – and the stall is set to begin.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) is using the occasion to continue his battle with the FCC over the release of documents he wants and which haven’t been forthcoming.

Candidates for other non-FCC positions were also confirmed and are not subject to any holds to the best of our knowledge.

Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said, “When it comes to putting leaders at the helm of the FTC and FCC, there are no better candidates than the accomplished public servants the Commerce Committee approved today. We need effective consumer advocates. I am especially pleased to move forward with Ms. Rosenworcel’s nomination.  Her expertise on communications policy will be a major asset to the Commission. I’m confident we can address any concerns about the nominees quickly so we can clear the way for full Senate confirmation.”

The “concerns” in need of addressing mentioned by Rockefeller are almost certainly those voiced by Grassley.

In the wake of the vote, Grassley promised to make good on his hold threat. He said, “More than seven months ago, I started asking the FCC for information that would shed light on the agency’s apparent rush to approve the LightSquared project. The agency has provided none of the information and found excuses not to provide the information. Even the private companies involved, LightSquared and Harbinger Capital, have promised to be more forthcoming than the FCC as a public agency funded by the taxpayers. LightSquared and Harbinger Capital promised to provide me with requested documents on their dealings with the FCC this week. As a last resort to try to exhort more transparency and accountability from the FCC, I’ll place a hold on consideration of the agency nominees on the Senate floor. This agency controls a big part of the economy. It conducts the public’s business. And the public’s business ought to be public.”

RBR-TVBR observation: You have to give Grassley credit for one thing – oftentimes holds are placed in secrecy, leaving the nation in the dark as to just who is gumming up the works on one matter or another. Regardless of the merits of Grassley’s request, his transparent and fully-disclosed hold is entirely consistent, at least, with his demand for transparency from the FCC.