Tom Wheeler Is the New FCC Chief

The former lobbyist overcame concerns that he is too close to the industries he will be regulating

  • Share
  • Read Later
Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Thomas Wheeler

The senate unanimously confirmed Tom Wheeler to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday. Wheeler is an investor and former industry lobbyist.

Senator Ted Cruz initially objected to Wheeler because of Wheeler’s views on political disclosure rules. The two had a private meeting Tuesday, and Cruz set aside his concerns. Some liberals and consumer advocates have also wondered whether he may be too close to the industries he’s regulating as a former lobbyist. But Senators were reassured about his qualifications.

“Tom Wheeler will be a strong advocate for consumers and the public interest at a time when the FCC is facing decisions that will shape the future of our nation’s telephone network and the wireless, broadband, and video industries,” said Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, who initially expressed skepticism about Wheeler before Obama tapped him.

[The Hill]


My press release about Mr. Wheeler issued in May has greater import now. The press release cites allegations made by a major wireless industry publication regarding Mr. Wheeler's misbehavior when he was president of the CTIA, the wireless industry association.  More specifically, the publication  alleges that Mr. Wheeler suppressed and biased the research from the nation’s largest mobile phone health research project to cover up adverse health effects due to cell phone radiation.

The appointment of Mr. Wheeler now is particularly troubling because the FCC is under pressure from the industry to change the cell phone radiation limits in the U.S. to the international limits which provide less protection to cell phone users. However, the health research strongly suggests that the current cell phone radiation limits are inadequate and must be strengthened, not weakened.

Why didn't the Senate investigate these allegations?