Obama Nominates Genachowski to Head Communications Commission

Obama Nominates Genachowski to Head Communications Commission

US President Barack Obama Tuesday nominated Julius Genachowski as chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission.

"I can think of no one better than Julius Genachowski to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He will bring to the job diverse and unparalleled experience in communications and technology, with two decades of accomplishment in the private sector and public service," Obama said in a statement announcing the nomination.

Genachowski, who has been an adviser to Obama, was considered a leading contender to be tapped as the nation's next FCC chairman. He previously was chief counsel to former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and was special counsel to FCC General Counsel William Kennard, who also later served as chairman. Genachowski, who is an advocate of network neutrality, has a wide range of experience in legal circles and also in technology.

The president is allowed to appoint the FCC chair, but the five-member commission can't be made up of more than three members of his party. If Genachowski is confirmed, he will form a majority along with Democrats Michael Copps -- currently acting chairman -- and Jonathan Adelstein. Republican Robert McDowell remains on the commission, and there is a remaining seat for another Republican.

The media reform organization Free Press, an advocate of network neutrality, praised Obama's choice. Under the Bush administration, Free Press helped push for an FCC crackdown on Comcast's blocking of file-sharing applications on its cable broadband network.

"We urge the Senate to move Genachowski swiftly through the confirmation process, and we look forward to working with him to tackle America's most pressing media and technology issues," the group said.

The Consumer Electronics Association said Genachowski was an obvious choice.

"It is also natural that our nation's first digital president would choose as FCC chairman someone who has worked in the technology industry and understands how innovation grows from an idea into the next-generation companies that drive our economy and create jobs," the group said.

Genachowski graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and served as a clerk for US Supreme Court Justice David Souter. Prior to that he clerked for Justice William Brennan, as well as for US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Chief Judge Abner Mikva. He was on the staff of Charles Schumer when the New York senator was in the US House or Representatives and served on the staff of the House committee that investigated the Iran-Contra scandal.

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