The Association of U S West Retirees



Bush Taps McDowell for FCC
Associated Press
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., BellSouth Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc. and AT&T Inc.

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 FCC meeting.

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.