Kurth Withdraws from Seeking FCC Slot

Christine Kurth -- supported by Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) for a seat on the Federal Communications Commission -- has decided to remain in her post as deputy staff director of the committee, Stevens aides said Thursday.

Kurth, 34, opted to stay in her Senate post because serving on the FCC would have complicated her ability to vote on issues if her husband continued to work as a Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications lobbyist.

Stevens was hoping Kurth would fill the seat vacated in March by former FCC chairman Michael Powell.

Stevens aides said that because Kurth was determined to recuse herself at even the slightest sign of a family-created conflict of interest, she was concerned that such a high standard would have reduced the FCC from five votes to four on far too many occasions, perhaps leaving the agency gridlocked.

Stevens aides also noted that Kurth did not want to take the FCC position if it required husband Tim, a former aide to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), to drop all of his telecommunications clients.