Friday, December 11, 2020

Changing Faces at the FCC

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced
his resignation as of Inauguration Day.
(FCC photo)

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced at the end of November that he would be stepping down as of January 20. It is common practice at a change of administrations for the FCC Chair to resign in order to allow the incoming president to name his/her own chairman. The law establishing the FCC requires that the Commission be made up of two members of each major political party, with the fifth member coming from the party in power in the White House.

One of the Republican seats on the Commission was just filled by Nathan Simington, who was confirmed by the Senate in early December. Simington replaces GOP appointee Michael O'Rielly, whose term was expiring and was set for re-appointment until the president suddenly withdrew his name and nominated Simington instead. Simington most recently was a senior aide at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which performs many of the same functions as the FCC for federal government spectrum users.