Longest-Serving Member of FCC to Step Down

Mar 20, 2013  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission member who is the panel’s longest-serving current commissioner is stepping down. B&C reports that Robert McDowell made the announcement today that he intends to leave the commission in “a few weeks.”

McDowell has been on the commission since 2006, when he filled the unexpired term of then-FCC Chairman Michael Powell. He was subsequently confirmed for a new five-year term after being renominated by President Obama, the report notes.

“McDowell had been in the conversation for chairman if Mitt Romney had won the White House,” the report notes, adding: “His chief of staff, Angela Giancarlo, announced last month she was leaving.”

David Cohen, executive VP of Comcast Corp., said: "Commissioner McDowell has been an exemplary public servant. His wisdom, practicality and hard work all contribute to the widespread respect that everyone has for him. Commissioner McDowell’s tireless efforts to promote a free and unregulated Internet, reform Universal Service and keep the U.S. at the forefront of International telecommunications policy are just a few of his many notable accomplishments. We wish him all the best and congratulate him on his very successful seven-year tenure at the FCC."

The report adds: “McDowell’s exit will allow Republicans in Congress to pair up a new nominee from each party if, as expected, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski also exits the commission.

“Technically the pick of FCC nominees is the president’s to make, but ever since Bill Clinton deferred to Republican leadership for names to fill Republican seats, the custom is that top Senate Republicans — in this case Sens. Mitch McConnell, minority leader, and John Thune, ranking Commerce Committee member (R-S.D.) — get to make the call.”

The story also notes: “At the commission, McDowell has been a free market fan as well as a voice of caution that some of the FCC’s decisions could have trouble passing muster in the courts. He has also been a consistent warning voice about international efforts to undermine the multistakeholder model of Internet governance.”

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