Martin Disrupts Tate-Adelstein Re-confirmation Deal

[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
According to a source familiar with the request, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin declined to commit to resigning if and when a Democrat takes over the White House. The source said the request came from Democratic commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, whose own term is up this year and whose renomination has yet to come through. "Commissioner Adelstein has gone to the chairman," the source said, "and asked for a letter [to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)] saying [Martin] will resign when a new administration comes in if a Democrat is elected president." The chairman has not heard from any other commissioners, according to the source, who said Martin was not prepared one year out to say he would commit to leaving at a certain date or regardless of what was happening at the commission at the time, say a key vote or an issue related to the digital-TV transition -- the switchover date is Feb. 17, 2009, some four weeks after the Jan. 20 political switchover. The source stressed that Martin's refusal to set a hard date for his departure did not mean he would necessarily remain on as a commissioner beyond that date, either -- the new Democratic president would name a Democratic chairman. "For that matter, he still expects a Republican to be elected," the source added.

* Martin Disrupts Tate-Adelstein Deal: Sources
Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin scuttled a deal between the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) designed to award new terms to incumbent FCC commissioners, Republican Deborah Taylor Tate and Democrat Jonathan Adelstein. Chairman Martin rejected the deal because it required him to pledge to Reid in writing that he would resign his FCC commission in January 2009 if a Democrat were elected president in November. A White House spokeswoman, who declined to be named, said it "was highly unusual" that a Senate leader would even attempt to obtain Martin's conditional resignation in an effort to ease Senate confirmation for two nominees. Tate's FCC term expired last June 30. Under law, she may remain in office until Congress adjourns later this year if a replacement has not been confirmed. Adelstein's term expires in June. Bush renominated Tate last June and Adelstein last November. Here's the scenario Reid wanted to avoid: If Tate and Adelstein were confirmed this year and Martin remained at the FCC well into 2009, a new Democratic president could designate Adelstein or FCC Democrat Michael Copps to be chairman of the five-member agency but Republicans would still have a one-vote advantage: Martin, Tate, and Robert McDowell. In that case, the new Democratic president would not have an opportunity to confirm a Democrat at the FCC - and secure an FCC majority for Democrats -- until McDowell's term expired in June 2009.




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