Fighting a spectrum-sharing plan at the Federal Communications Commission and
perhaps gearing up to bid on DirecTV Inc., EchoStar Communications Corp. earlier this
month hired former House Telecommunications Subcommittee chairman Rep. Jack
Fields (R-Texas) as a Washington lobbyist for the company, according to
Fields, who retired in 1997 after helping to pass the Telecommunications Act
of 1996, filed a lobbying-registration report with the U.S. Congress June 13,
along with longtime aide Cynthia Wilkinson.
Although Fields did not have to disclose his compensation, he stated that his
company -- Washington, D.C.-based Twenty-First Century Group Inc. -- would
assist EchoStar in connection with 'Direct TV & satellite.'
EchoStar, along with DirecTV and the Satellite Broadcasting &
Communications Association, is trying to stop the Federal Communications
Commission from issuing licenses to Northpoint Technology Ltd. to share DBS
spectrum for the terrestrial delivery of video programming and high-speed
EchoStar is also reportedly formulating plans to bid to take over DBS rival
DirecTV in a merger contest with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Acquisition of
DirecTV would require the approval of the FCC and the Justice Department or the
Federal Trade Commission.
According to other filings, DirecTV paid $240,000 last year to lobbying firm
Quinn Gillespie & Associates LLC. Senior partner Jack Quinn was White House
counsel for President Clinton and, as a private citizen, persuaded Clinton to
grant a pardon to controversial fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich on
Clinton's last day in office.
Lobbyists for Northpoint reported collecting $260,000 from the company last
Northpoint paid $60,000 to retain the services of Texas lawyer M. Diane
Allbaugh. She is the wife of Joe Allbaugh, director of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency and manager for the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, a
Northpoint official said.
The Northpoint official added that Diane Allbaugh is a close friend of
another Northpoint executive.