Why the Senate Should Reject Tom Wheeler
Another Industry Crony at the FCC?
by B. BLAKE LEVITT
President Obama’s nomination of Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the height of cynical cronyism and industry-pandering. He should not be confirmed. Obama, in fact, could not have found a worse nominee than Tom Wheeler to head this most significant regulatory agency – one with long tentacles into all our lives whether we know it or not. Wheeler is the last person who should have his hands on the levers of the FCC, though he’s been aching to do just that for decades.
Wheeler has far too many conflicts of interest and industry biases to head the FCC. The FCC, regulates the nation’s airwaves and all communications plus its accompanying infrastructure, including all broadcasters, cable companies, telephone-service providers both wired and wireless, satellite communications and the Internet. FCC is at a crucial juncture regarding decisions on new airwave auctions, further media consolidation, net neutrality, and most importantly the updating of the nation’s obsolete exposure standards for radiofrequency radiation. The stakes are high. These decisions will affect all U.S. citizens for decades to come in ways great and small.
Below are 12 good reasons why the U.S. Senate* should reject Tom Wheeler:
1. Wheeler’s financial conflicts. As the managing director of Core Capital Partners LP in Washington, D.C., Tom Wheeler helps manage a $350 million venture capital firm that invests primarily in the high-growth technology sector – all with potential business involving the FCC. Founded in 1999, Core Capital has invested in over 45 companies and partnered with over 100 others with a focus on wireless information technology, communications, infrastructure, security, cloud-based software, digital media and technology-enabled service areas. Examples of Core Capital’s investments include PureWave Networks, which develops outdoor base stations for the 4G wireless networks; Twisted Pair Solutions, which makes mobile communications software interfaces, BridgeWave Communications, an outdoor gigabit wireless infrastructure/interface company, among many others. (See: http://www.core-capital.com for portfolio information.) Nearly all of Core Capital’s clients rely on friendly FCC regulation, lax radiofrequency radiation exposure standards, or more importantly no regulation at all. In 2008,FierceWireless included Tom Wheeler in their top ten all-time list of people who helped shape the wireless industry. Wheeler is on a mission and it goes way beyond regulating the quality of our connectivity.