Bush Nominates McDowell for FCC


President Bush Friday moved to end the partisan gridlock at the Federal Communications Commission by nominating Washington, D.C., attorney Robert McDowell to fill the third GOP seat at the five-member agency.

Bush announced his intention in a statement released on the White House's Web site (www.whitehouse.gov).

McDowell has to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee and requires Senate confirmation in order to assume a place at the FCC, the nation's chief regulator of cable, broadcasting and telephone companies.

Since last March, the FCC has been evenly divided between two Republicans and two Democrats -- a deadlock that gave the Democrats leverage to modify regulations and attach conditions to mergers. FCC Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein last fall held up SBC Communications Inc.'s merger with AT&T Corp. until SBC agreed to comply with Internet network-neutrality guidelines for two years.

It was unclear whether McDowell will be sworn in before the FCC has completed action on the acquisition of Adelphia Communications Corp.’s 5 million cable customers by Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc. for $17.6 billion in cash and stock.

McDowell, a Virginia resident, is senior vice president and assistant general counsel of COMPTEL, a trade group representing rivals to the Baby Bells. He received his bachelor's degree from Duke University and his law degree from the College of William and Mary.

McDowell's FCC term would expire June 30, 2009.