Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump Appoints Pai To Head FCC

Ajit Pai
In one of his first official acts, President Trump designated Commissioner Ajit Pai as the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, according to Forbes.

He is the first newly appointed Republican chairman since Kevin Martin nearly 12 years ago.

Chairman Pai has served as a commissioner for nearly 5 years, and his views on a wide range of topics are publicly available on his FCC website that highlights his many Commission opinions, Congressional testimonies, speeches, publications, and blogs.

It is impossible to predict exactly where Chairman Pai will go with specific future policies such as network neutrality, particular mergers, and the aftermath of the disappointing and flawed broadcaster spectrum auction.  But it is easy to describe broad themes of a Chairman Pai: follow the law, less regulation, and a folksy approach to government.

Chairman Pai is a lawyer's lawyer. He becomes chairman with a deep understanding of communications law—he served for many years in the Office of General Counsel of the FCC before becoming a commissioner. Without notes, he effortlessly responds at public fora to questions with citations to sections of federal law, specific language in federal rules, and the history of court opinions.

He knows not just the detail and substance of the law but also how the law was crafted, how the law is administered, and how the law is adjudicated. He has served as an attorney in all three branches of government: a clerk to a federal judge, a senior counsel to two U.S. Senators, and a senior attorney in the Department of Justice. He also served as a senior attorney in a major law firm and in a major telecommunications company. He has had an extraordinary legal career for an individual of any age, much less a person still in his mid-40s.

In response to press reports indicating Ajit Pai will be named permanent FCC Chairman, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith released the following statement:

"Without qualification, NAB supports President Trump's selection of Ajit Pai to the position of FCC chairman. Ajit Pai is a known quantity who brings integrity, good humor and a fierce intellect to the Commission. We look forward to working with him and his colleagues on a pro-growth FCC agenda that benefits tens of millions of Americans who rely on free broadcast radio and TV for the most popular content, credible news, and lifeline local emergency alerts."

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