Updated 3/22 — WASHINGTON, DC — The rumors we first reported last night are confirmed: Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski will be leaving his post in “the coming weeks.” As expected, Genachowski made the announcement today.
The Democrat first worked for the FCC as chief counsel during President Clinton’s administration. He was appointed to his current post in 2009, after serving as chief technology adviser to President Obama during Obama’s first Presidential campaign.
Genachowski’s term was due to expire in June. In reporting the news, USA Today mentioned one public interest group which praised Genachowski for certain decisions, such as blocking a proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. But the group also called Genachowski’s term “one of missed opportunities,” particularly relating to broadband internet access.
Seats on the Commission are appointed by the President. The Washington Post reported President Obama is likely to appoint Tom Wheeler, a venture capitalist and former lobby group chairman, as the FCC’s new chair.
Obama will also have to appoint a replacement for commissioner Robert McDowell, who announced his intention to leave the FCC earlier this week.
Original Story from March 21
Reports: FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to resign
WASHINGTON, DC — According to several major news outlets, including Politico and The Wall Street Journal, Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to announce his resignation tomorrow.
Although a Genachowski spokesperson declined to comment on the matter tonight, Politico cited “high-ranking sources,” while noting that such an announcement “has been expected for months.”
The Wall Street Journal also said there’s no official word on the resignation announcement, but attributed its report to “people familiar with the matter.”
A Reuters report says Genachowski told FCC staff of his plans to leave the Commission today, and that he’d be making the news public tomorrow. Genachowski, a Democrat, was appointed to the post by President Obama in 2009, and his term would have expired in June.
If the buzz turns out to be true, Genachowski’s notice will come just two days after FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican, announced his own plans to leave the Commission within the next few weeks.
Although some reports say Genachowski had been mulling an exit for months, Al Kamen of the Washington Post‘s “In the Loop” blog notes the timing of Genachowski’s announcement will allow Democrats to maintain control over the FCC: After both Genachowski and McDowell exit, there will be 2 Democrat commissioners and a single Republican. If Genachowski had left before McDowell, there would have been two commissioners for each party, opening up the possibility for voting deadlocks.