Adelstein a Lock To Retain His FCC Seat


Washington— Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein is expected to be confirmed within days for a new five-year term, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said last Thursday.

“He deserves to be confirmed. We’re going to do it today or tomorrow,” McCain told reporters after Adelstein sailed through his confirmation hearing.

The committee confirmed Adelstein on Friday morning, but full Senate action remained pending at press time.

Adelstein, a Democrat, was required to leave the FCC on the day Congress adjourns. Many suspected that his FCC career was finished, especially after his mentor Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) lost his reelection bid on Nov. 2.

At the hearing, Adelstein, accompanied by his wife and two children, repeated his commitment to bringing advanced communications to rural America and fighting excessive media ownership concentration.

Adelstein also garnered the support of Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), who provided critical bipartisan backing.


The White House nominated Adelstein early last week, after letting his appointment languish for many months. Dorgan lashed out at the White House for leaving him in limbo for so long.

“That [nomination] was not sent down to the Congress, deliberately so, showing in my judgment an arrogance and partisanship that is very unusual,” Dorgan said. “Seldom is that sort of behavior so apparent and so appalling.”

Adelstein’s reappointment won’t alter the FCC power structure. The five-member agency is controlled by three Republican Bush appointees.


McCain told reporters that Adelstein deserved better treatment. “In the case of Adelstein, Dorgan had a good point,” McCain said. “For two years, the guy’s name had been up at the White House.”

In recent months, McCain joined several Senate Democrats in urging the White House to support Adelstein.

“The problem had been, as you know, they just never sent his paperwork over,” McCain said.

“I never thought he was derailed because of Daschle’s defeat — because he had support from other Democrats, like Dorgan and many others.”