Friday, May 4, 2018

Clyburn Stepping Down as FCC Commissioner

Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn announced in mid-April that she would be leaving the
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn
(FCC photo)
Commission prior to its May 10 scheduled meeting. According to Politico, Clyburn made the announcement at the Commission's April meeting. She has served since 2009, focusing her attention on the communications and internet needs of low-income and minority communities. 

By law, the FCC's five commissioners are split between the major political parties, with the party of the President holding three seats. A Democrat would need to be nominated to fill Clyburn's seat, and the President traditionally accepts the recommendation of the Senate Minority Leader in making opposing-party appointments. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has already recommended the appointment of Geoffrey Starks, an assistant chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau, according to the Politico report.

Enforcement in a ham radio case has caught the attention of another FCC commissioner. Michael O'Rielly used the long-running case William Crowell, W6WBJ (formerly N6AYJ), as an example in his efforts to abolish the FCC's Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) system. According to the ARRL Letter, Crowell - who was fined $25,000 in 2016 for intentional interference and other rules violations – has been battling the FCC for a decade over the renewal of his license. Crowell had repeatedly asked that his case be transferred to a different law judge, claiming that the judge hearing his case is biased against him. O'Rielly says the ALJ system is flawed and needs to be replaced.