Muris amassed telecom, tech portfolio

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Timothy Muris, the White House's choice to be the next chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, has as much as $500,000 in investments in many telecommunications and technology companies, according to his financial disclosure report filed with the Office of Government Ethics.

Muris owns stakes in AOL Time Warner, AT&T Corp., Cisco Systems, Fibrenet Telecom Group, General Electric, Intel Corp., Lucent Technologies, Nortel Inc., Microsoft Corp., Sirius Satellite Radio, Vodafone Group, Walt Disney Corp., Winstar Communications and WorldCom. He also has wide-ranging assets in a number of funds and real estate.

The Senate Commerce Committee holds Muris' confirmation hearing on Wednesday morning. Muris isn't the only nominee that holds shares in telecom and tech: Republican FCC nomineee Kathleen Abernathy has as much as $1.7 million in interests in telecommunications companies, according to her disclosure reports. Abernathy-whose career has included posts at the FCC and positions in the satellite, wireless and telephone industries-owns stakes in Qwest Communications, Verizon Communications, Vodafone, Dobson Communications, AirTouch Communications and Broadband Office. Many of those investments are savings or retirement accounts remaining from jobs she has held. She has worked for phone companies Pacific Telesis (now owned by SBC Communications) and US West (now owned by Qwest), wireless company AirTouch (now owned by Vodafone) and struggling broadband provider Broadband Office.

Other nominees Republican Kevin Martin and Democrat Michael Copps didn't appear to have any telecommunications investments. FCC Chairman Michael Powell's report was not yet available, and neither was Bruce Mehlman's, who is nominated to become assistant secretary of Commerce in charge of technology policy. - Paige Albiniak

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