Pai Names New Legislative Affairs Chief

FCC chairman Ajit Pai is naming Paul Jackson to head up the FCC's office of legislative affairs, which, as the name suggests, deals with the FCC's interactions with Congress, including prepping witnesses for hearings, responding to congressional inquiries and keeping Congress in the loop on FCC decisions and policy issues. 

Jackson, who had been associate chief of the FCC's Media Bureau, will replace Tim Strachan, who will continue at the FCC in the Office of General Counsel. 

Before joining the FCC last year, Jackson had worked on the Hill, both Senate and House sides, most recently at the House Energy & Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection .

Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai

“Our two-way communications with Congress are essential to succeeding in our mission for the American people,” said Pai of the new posting for Jackson. “The FCC takes very seriously not only Congress’s input on our work, but our responsibility to keep them informed about our efforts and to provide expert advice when asked to do so. Paul’s deep policy experience at the FCC and on Capitol Hill is a great asset. I thank him for his willingness to take on this important task and to serve as our point person in working with Congress.” 

The FCC has gotten some bipartisan blowback from the Hill recently over not being kept sufficiently in the loop.  

At an FCC oversight hearing in December, House Energy & Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-Ore.) signaled that what the communications regulatory agency had was a failure to communicate.  

Walden did not appear happy that he had to learn from a press release that the FCC was establishing a new $9 billion 5G rural subsidy fund, including a billion dollars for precision agriculture. He said it sounded good, but he had a lot of questions, including where the $9 billion is coming from and about the fact that there are still not accurate maps to show where broadband is and isn't.  

"We expect to have a little more notice and a little more communication on some of these big announcements," he said, adding that might have addressed some of the questions the FCC would be getting at the hearing.  

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.