Media Marriage Penalty Levied

Christine Kurth, telecom aide to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, last week withdrew her name from consideration for an FCC seat. Kurth was a leading candidate for one of two commission openings, but dropped out of the running after “extensive discussions” with the White House.

It seems that Bush Administration honchos vetting for FCC posts decided Kurth had too many potential conflicts of interest because her husband, Timothy, is a lobbyist for Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles, which works for several clients (Motorola, Sprint, U.S. Telecom Association) with business before the commission. Kurth, they decided, would have spent too much time recusing herself from FCC business.
Given how many interconnected D.C. couples there are, it’s amazing that anybody ever lands a high-powered job. In the media/telecom regulatory sector alone, these potentially tricky marital alliances come to mind:
- FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s wife, Catherine, is a White House deputy communications director.
- FTC Chairman and antitrust regulator Deborah Majoras’ husband, John, is a corporate antitrust lawyer.
- NCTA President and top cable lobbyist Kyle McSlarrow’s wife, Alison, is  a former Microsoft lobbyist.
- NAB General Counsel, ex-FCC official Jane Mago’s husband Robert Blau is regulatory counsel for BellSouth.
- FCC Media Bureau spokeswoman Rebecca Fisher’s husband, Robert, is a Clear Channel lobbyist.