FCC General Counsel Joins DOJ

FCC general counsel Jon Sallet is exiting the commission, but he won't be moving too far away.

He will join the Justice Department, which divides communications merger review oversight with the FCC, as deputy general counsel for litigation in the antitrust division.

Howard Symons, who helped shepherd the spectrum auction now underway, will replace Sallet as general counsel.

The general counsel is the top legal advisor to the commission. Its attorneys represent the FCC before appeals courts, recommend decisions in adjudications, and helps provide the legal underpinnings for decisions like reclassifying ISPs under Title II.

“Howard Symons has distinguished himself as a sage practitioner of communications law for decades,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. “I have had the opportunity of working with Howard many times on complicated and important communications issues and know from firsthand experience his significant abilities. Now that the Incentive Auction rules are in place and the auction is underway, we have the flexibility to ask Howard to transfer his considerable talents to become General Counsel.”

Symons has been vice chair of the FCC's Incentive Auction Task Force. Before joining the FCC, Symons chaired the communications practice at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo and was senior counsel to the house Telecommunication (now Communications) Subcommittee.

"Jonathan Sallet was a joy to work with," says Adonis Hoffman, former chief of staff to commissioner Mignon Clyburn. "He is an exceptional intellect and a consummate professional.

“Jon always took the extra time and effort to delineate complex legal issues to the legal advisors…"DOJ's gain is the FCC's loss."

"Best wishes to Jon Sallet and Howard Symons in new roles at DOJ & FCC," tweeted Preston Padden, former executive director of a coalition of TV stations interested in the spectrum auction. "Auction in good hands with Gary Epstein - at the helm from day 1."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.