Saturday, September 21, 2013

New FCC and FTC Commissioners Stand Before Commerce Committee

GOP FCC Commissioner-appointee Michael O'Rielly and Democratic Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appointee Terrell McSweeny faced the Senate Commerce Committee last week in anticipation of upcoming confirmation votes. 

The Sept. 19th hearing provided a glimpse into the somewhat divergent philosophies and priorities of the two appointees with regard to their respective regulatory agencies. 

O'Rielly spent more than 20 years as a Congressional staffer, and few have doubts that he will be confirmed as the newest FCC Commissioner.  His nomination comes preceded by that of new Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler, politically balancing the FCC leadership. According to his testimony, O'Rielly favors a "light hand" with regard to regulating quickly changing technologies, a sentiment questioned by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) as possible "code" for allowing an excess of unchecked new technology. 

Some key issues he cited were the need to review media ownership rules and taking a second look at the record of 1.4 million previously backlogged indecency complaints that were dismissed.  Upon Congressional confirmation, O'Rielly will fill the vacancy left by Republican Robert McDowell.

For more on McSweeny's more "activist" approach to regulations, visit

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