Pai Picks A New FCC General Counsel


The deputy solicitor general for West Virginia’s Attorney General has been selected as the Commission’s top legal advisor.

Starting next week, Tom Johnson will take the role as FCC General Counsel.

The move comes as acting General Counsel Nick Degani transitions back to his role as senior counsel in the Office of Chairman Ajit Pai.

Johnson has been based in Charleston, W. Va., since September 2016. But, he’s hardly a stranger to Washington: For a decade prior to serving under West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Johnson was of counsel to Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, one of the biggest Inside the Beltway law firms.

Johnson is a 2005 graduate of Harvard Law School.

“Because we cannot stray beyond the authority granted to us by Congress, the General Counsel is one of the most important positions at the FCC,” explained Pai.  “Having myself worked in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel, I know the hard work that goes on there.  I am grateful that someone with Tom’s skill and experience is going to fill this vital role.  Tom is an outstanding attorney and a strong leader.”

Before joining Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Johnson served as a law clerk for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Acknowledging Degani’s interim service, Pai added, “Nick once again stepped up when needed and did an outstanding job filling a temporary but fundamental need for the Commission.  I welcome him back to my office and thank him for his tireless work.”

The Office of General Counsel represents the Commission in litigation, recommends decisions in adjudicatory matters before the Commission, assists the Commission in its decision-making capacity, and performs a variety of legal functions regarding internal and other administrative matters.