Pai Names Acting, Permanent FCC Staffers

Newly minted FCC chairman Ajit Pai has already begun staffing up.

Tuesday he named Brendan Carr as acting general counsel. Carr has most recently been Pai's legal advisor on wireless, public safety and international and before that a member of the general counsel's office.

Before that he was an attorney with Wiley Rein, the firm whose name partner, Dick Wiley, is himself a former FCC chair and whose firm has been the former and future home of numerous top FCC officials.

FCC general counsel Howard Symons left the commission Jan. 20, when former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler also made his exit and the new President made his entrance.

Pai, who met personally with then President-elect Donald Trump a week ago, was ready with a host of new staff announcements.

Mathew Berry, who has been Pai's chief of staff as the senior Republican commissioner, will be chief of staff to the new chairman. He is a former partner at Patton Boggs and a one-time clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Nicholas Degani, who has been Pai's wireline advisor, will be senior counsel. Degani came to the FCC from the House Energy & Commerce Committee, where he was counsel to the chairman of the full committee and communications subcommittee.

Acting wireline advisor will be Jay Schwarz, an economist from the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning, where he had been acting deputy chief. Schwarz has taught courses in cost-benefit analysis, something Pai has said should be more rigorously applied to regulations.

Allison Nemeth has been named acting media advisor. She had been legal advisor in the Media Bureau.

Rachael Bender will be acting wireless advisor. She comes from the Wireless Bureau, where she worked on competition and infrastructure issues. She came to the FCC from Wireless trade group Mobile Future, where she had been senior policy director.

Zenji Nakazawa has been named acting public safety and consumer protection advisor, She joins, appropriately enough, from the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, where she was chief of the Policy and Rules Division.

Lori Alexiou, Pai's confidential assistant as commissioner for the past four years, will retain that title for the new chairman. She came to Pai's office from the Office of General Counsel, where she had been a litigation specialist.

Kim Mattos is acting executive assistant, assisting Degani and Berry. Mattos had been a management analyst in the Enforcement Bureau.

Deanne Erwin will be executive assistant to Schwarz, Nemeth, Bender and Nazakawa. She had been assistant to Media Bureau chief Bill Lake.

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.