Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Commerce Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison, I hear, have received approximately one dozen recommendations for filling the vacant seat on the FCC which, by law, must be filled by a Republican. Although the president will make the appointment, the views of the Senate Republican Leader, in particular, are usually accorded significant weight.
The most prominent candidates include Lee Carosi Dunn (Senator McCain’s assistant for communications policy), Brian Hendricks (Hutchison’s assistant for communications policy), Ajit Pai (Senator Brownback’s assistant for judiciary matters) and two officials from the Bush administration (David Gross, ambassador for international communications and information policy; and Meredith Baker, former acting assistant secretary of commerce for telecommunications and information policy). All sound like good choices. The Senate staffers have the inside track.
Aside from the current vacant seat, it’s also possible one of the candidates could replace current FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell, whose term expires in June. By law his seat would also have to be filled by a Republican.