In a few weeks, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association
is expected to name a new president to succeed Robert Sachs. The outgoing chief
gives a farewell speech to the Washington Metropolitan Cable Club Tuesday Dec.
14. NCTA appears to be going for well-connected former lawmakers or
senior-level administration aides. It's looking for someone with close ties
to the White House who can navigate Congress as it begins rewriting the
telecommunications laws. The post is one of the most lucrative in Washington:
Sachs' $1.2 million annual salary is second among media-related posts, topped
only by the $1.3 million earned by the retiring Jack Valenti of the Motion
Picture Association of America. Already scratched off the NCTA short list are
Verizon lobbyist Tom Tauke, who rebuffed an NCTA invite to apply for the job,
and Disney lobbyist Mitch Rose. Others apparently out are former Pentagon (and
NCTA) spokeswoman Torie Clarke and FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy.
Although a dark-horse candidate can't be ruled out, three names in the hunt
Undersecretary for Technology, Dept. of Commerce; ex-chief of staff to
former Commerce Secretary Don Evans
Worked as Defense Dept. aide to current Vice President Dick Cheney
during early '90s; has Hill contacts from days as congressional staffer and
Defense Dept lobbyist. At Commerce Dept. Bond's portfolio includes telecom
but also science and space policy
Chief of National Telecommunications and Information Administration;
former Washington state lobbyist for Verizon Wireless, lobbyist for AirTouch
Communications, aide to Rep. Rick White
Junior to Bond at the Commerce Dept. but more focused on telecom issues;
also in the running for FCC seat if GOP slot opens
Rep. George Nethercutt
The congressman (R-Wash.) became a GOP hero in 1994 by unseating Rep.
Tom Foley, the first House speaker to be defeated since 1860; ex-aide to Sen.
Ted Stevens, incoming chairman of the Commerce Committee, the main panel
overseeing telecom issues
Hiring the former Washington state lawmaker would follow trend set by
MPAA and other top trade groups in hiring ex-lawmakers to represent them in the