Tea Party darling and government shutdown-enthusiast Texas Senator Ted Cruz just blocked the nomination of Thomas Wheeler for Federal Communications Commission Chairman. In a statement to TechCrunch, a spokesman says that Cruz is dissatisfied with Wheeler’s stance on whether the FCC will force political advertisements to disclose their donors
“Yes, the Senator is holding the nominee until he gets answers to his questions regarding Mr. Wheeler’s views on whether the FCC has the authority or intent to implement the requirements of the failed Congressional DISCLOSE Act. Mr. Wheeler had previously declined to give specific answers, but as he’s now expressed his readiness to revisit the Senator’s questions, the Senator hopes to communicate with him soon.
Cruz warned last July that he would exploit procedural measures to block Wheeler if the FCC were prepared to subvert Congress’s attempt to regulate campaign disclosures under the currently stalled Congressional DISCLOSE Act.
The FCC has been without leadership since long-time chair Julius Genachowski left for a fellowship at the prestigious Aspen Institute last spring. As such, matters of universal broadband and allocation of spectrum (to fix speed and dropped calls) are also on hold.
America may have been under the silly impression that when the government opened up for business, it would get work done.