Daschle aide in line for FCC

Nov 5, 2001  •  Post A Comment

The White House was said at deadline to be nearing a decision on naming a candidate to fill the Democratic vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission. Leading the pack was Jonathan Adelstein, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
That Mr. Adelstein has emerged as the leading candidate comes as a surprise, because many political handicappers thought Andy Levin, an aide to Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., already had a lock on the slot.
But Mr. Levin officially took himself out of contention last week after Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., objected to his appointment. Sen. Hollings, according to sources, raised concerns that Mr. Levin, a former Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) employee, would be too close for the lawmaker’s comfort to phone company interests.
Now Sen. Daschle, according to sources, is turning to one of his own for the job.
At deadline, Mr. Adelstein had not returned telephone calls.
That the White House would defer to Sen. Daschle’s druthers on the issue also comes as a surprise to some observers, because President Bush is free to name his own Democrat.
But sources said that in the interests of political comity, the White House told Sen. Daschle that President Bush would accept his candidate for the Democratic slot-as long as the pick was deemed to be within the bounds of reason.
One well-placed source said the White House is expected to fill the slot before year’s end. Sources also said that Mr. Adelstein’s sole viable competitor for the slot appears to be Bob Rowe, a Montana state public service commissioner.