Brownback Pitches White House On Waltzman


Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) late last week was pushing his former staffer, Howard Waltzman, for a seat on the FCC.

In a letter to the White House, Brownback called Waltzman, currently chief telecommunications counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a strong leader who "looks beyond the Beltway to understand the impact that regulation will have on the real world."

Waltzman was on Brownback's staff from 1995 to 2001, rising from legislative assistant to general counsel.

Christine Kurth has emerged as the front-runner for Powell's seat, which may have prompted the Brownback letter pitching his man, although there are two potential openings, One is the seat vacated by Michael Powell, the other is Kathleen Abernathy's, who has said she is ready to go as soon as a replacement can be found (her term has already expired).

Kurth is currently deputy staff director of the Senate Commerce Committee and focuses on telecommunications issues. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the committee's chairman, is pushing the White House to nominate her.

White House FCC favorite and former Texas utility regulator Rebecca Klein is  the primary candidate to be chairman of the Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission and probably won't be joining the FCC.

Lobbyist Earl Comstock, previously Stevens' favored candidate, pulled his name from contention.

Also in the race for one of the two seats is Michael Gallagher, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.