In one of those late-Friday news dumps that has been de rigueur these days, President Donald Trump has nominated Democrat Geoffrey Starks to fill the FCC commissioner’s seat left vacant when Mignon Clyburn quit abruptly in April.
The White House Press Office did not issue an email release on the move, as per usual, but did issue a statement announced the move. The FCC’s chairman then weighed tonight. “I congratulate Geoffrey Starks on his forthcoming nomination to serve as a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission,” Ajit Pai said in a statement. “He has a distinguished record of public service, including in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, and I wish him all the best during the confirmation process.”
Starks — who, like Clyburn, is a Democrat — currently is one of five assistant bureau chiefs at the FCC, and he also served as senior counsel at the U.S. Justice Department, the White House statement says.
The nomination — which would complete Clyburn’s five-year term, though June 2022 — comes at an important time for the commission. It is being sued by a consortium of consumer groups and unions over the panel’s support for the long-gestating $4.6N Sinclair Broadcasting Group merger with Tribune Media. Clyburn had been an avowed opponent of the deal, which the FCC looks to approve along party lines.
The party in power is allowed a majority on the five-seat FCC panel.