FCC's Pai Names New General Counsel

Tom Johnson comes from West Virginia attorney general's office

Thomas Johnson Jr. has been named general counsel of the FCC.

Nick Degani, a top aide to FCC chair Ajit Pai who had been acting as general counsel, will return to the chair's staff as senior counsel.

Degani was actually the second acting general counsel under Pai in as many months. The first, Jennifer Tatel, exited to join Wilkinson Barker Knauer.

Johnson, who will be joining the FCC next week, had been deputy solicitor general for West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The general counsel is the top legal advisor to the commission and the chairman, including laying out the legal case for FCC actions and, if necessary--and it is routinely necessary--defending that case in court.

“Because we cannot stray beyond the authority granted to us by Congress, the General Counsel is one of the most important positions at the FCC,” said Pai in making the announcement. "Having myself worked in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel, I know the hard work that goes on there. I am grateful that someone with Tom’s skill and experience is going to fill this vital role."