Taps McDowell for FCC
Wall Street Journal
Friday, February 3, 2006
WASHINGTON -- President Bush chose telecommunications
attorney and lobbyist Robert McDowell on Friday to take an
open seat at the Federal Communications Commission, a move
that would restore the agency's 3-2 Republican majority.
Mr. McDowell currently serves as senior vice president and
assistant general counsel at Comptel, a trade organization
representing phone carriers that compete with the regional
Bell companies --
Verizon Communications Inc.,
Qwest Communications International Inc. and
The Senate would have to confirm the nomination.
Mr. McDowell would give FCC Chairman Kevin Martin a
Republican majority at the agency -- something he hasn't had
since he was elevated to the post last March. Since then,
the normally five-member commission has been evenly split
2-2, although it was briefly operating with only three
members in December -- when Mr. Martin was outnumbered by
the two Democrats on the panel. The Democratic majority
ended last month when Republican Deborah Tate was sworn in.
A third Republican vote would allow Mr. Martin to move
forward with his agenda and tackle contentious issues like a
review of media ownership rules.
The lack of a Republican majority proved troublesome for Mr.
Martin last summer when the Republicans and Democrats on the
panel couldn't agree on how to begin the process of
considering new ownership rules. The issue was shelved
minutes before it was slated to be discussed at a monthly
Mr. McDowell would fill the seat vacated by Republican
Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy last year. The term runs
until June 2009.
Before joining Comptel in 1999, Mr. McDowell was executive
vice president and general counsel for America's Carrier
Telecommunications Association. He ran unsuccessfully in
2003 for the Virginia House of Delegate.