Ajit Pai expected to take over FCC with Trump's inauguration

Georgia ReedJan 24, 2017

"Ajit Pai has been on the wrong side of just about every major issue that has come before the FCC during his tenure", Free Press CEO Craig Aaron said in a statement sent to Ars.

On his resume, by the way, are previous stints as a policy lawyer for the Department of Justice, Senate Judiciary Committee and the FCC (before becoming a commissioner); he's also worked on behalf of Verizon and as a telecommunications attorney for Jenner & Block.

However, Morken's position is not widely held among those working with Trump on the FCC - so the chances of another anti-net neutrality appointee are fairly high. That would mean Pai could lead the commission throughout Trump's four-year term in the White House. According to agency rules, he will need to be reconfirmed at the end of the year.

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Pai, 44, will be the fourth senior level Indian American in Trump's administration, following Nikki Haley, nominated US ambassador to United Nations (a cabinet-rank position); Seema Verma, head of medicare and medicaid; and Preet Bharara, US attorney for the southern District of NY. "The FCC is charged with preserving a free and open internet and fostering innovation online, and we will continue our work in pursuit of these goals", Beckerman said.

Pai has been a commissioner at the FCC since 2012, when he was appointed by then-President Obama and confirmed by the Senate. Pai opposed net neutrality rules and, after Trump's victory, said those rules' "days are numbered". He has also voiced support for rules that would reduce the outrageous rates inmates must pay to place calls in many states, though he voted against a proposal that would do this, citing legal concerns (the rules are now caught up in court).

A request for comment sent to Pai's FCC address was not immediately returned. "He's never met a mega-merger he didn't like or a public safeguard he didn't try to undermine". During the net neutrality debate, he tweeted a photo of himself with the 332-page proposal and lamented that FCC rules didn't allow him to make it public.

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"Pai has been an effective obstructionist who looks out for the corporate interests he used to represent in the private sector".

The FCC now has two Republicans and one Democrat.

Trump will now nominate replacement commissioners, giving his party the majority on the commission.

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