UPDATED: Dingell to FCC's McDowell: Please Hold Off On Your Merger Vote
Two key Congressional Democrats are urging FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell not to cast a vote in the scheduled December 20 FCC meeting where a final vote on the AT&T-BellSouth merger will take place.
Update: The FCC said late today the merger matter will not be on the agenda at the December 20 meeting.
The Democrats urging that McDowell hold fast are Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, who will head the Energy and Commerce Committee next year, and Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, the new chairman of that panel's Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee.
McDowell has been recusing himself because of a perceived conflict of interest issue involving some of his previous work against the merger before he joined the FCC. Kevin Martin, FCC chair, has said that he believes that based on a ruling last week from FCC Counsel Sam Feder, that McDowell should feel OK about voting.
"The general counsel has not provided a thoughtful and appropriate explanation for departing from the advice of the director of the office of government ethics, which could lead reasonable people to question the integrity of the agency's decision in this very important matter," Dingell said.
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