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Bush Plans to Nominate Adelstein for New Term on FCC

Nov 16, 2004  •  Post A Comment

President Bush late Monday announced his intention to nominate FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein for reappointment to a Democratic seat at the Federal Communications Commission. Without a reappointment Mr. Adelstein would have been forced to step down from the agency when Congress adjourns for the year later this month.

It was so widely anticipated that he would lose his job that one watchdog group had already publicly said farewell. But with a last-gasp push from outgoing Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Mr. Adelstein-a former aide to the lawmaker-is now positioned to get a new term running through June 30, 2008. An industry source said Mr. Adelstein, who must be confirmed by the Senate for the post before Congress adjourns from its post-election lame-duck session, received support from a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers with rural constituencies, including Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss.

But industry sources said the reappointment is really a personal parting gift from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to Sen. Daschle, who lost his bid for re-election. Sources also said confirmation hearings before the Senate Commerce Committee have tentatively been slated for Thursday, with Mr. Adelstein expected to be among the nominees receiving review.

Mr. Murdoch acknowledged on Tuesday that he was taken aback by Mr. Malone’s move and said the two men have had “very friendly conversations” about Mr. Malone’s signing a standstill agreement that would prevent Mr. Malone from launching a takeover of News Corp., though Mr. Murdoch said the talks “were too vague to report” at this time.

Mr. Malone’s ability to raise his stake in News Corp. came when number of Australian shareholders were forced to sell their holdings in News Corp. after the company announced plans to reincorporate in the United States.

Standard & Poor’s, which runs stock indexes in the United States and Australia, ruled that News Corp. could not maintain a presence in both indexes if it planned to become a U.S. company, triggering the Australian investors to unload their shares. Liberty snapped up the shares, effectively doubling its stake in News Corp.