Senate confirms FCC nominees Tom Wheeler, Michael O'Rielly

Oct. 29, 2013 at 9:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The Federal Communications Commission returned to full strength Tuesday when the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Tom Wheeler and Michael O'Rielly.

Wheeler and O'Rielly fill seats that had been vacant since two members resigned in March.

Both nominees were approved unanimously after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, rescinded his hold on Wheeler's nomination as chairman, The New York Times reported. Cruz said he had been assured by Wheeler the FCC would not immediately alter disclosure rules for political advertising on television, the newspaper said.

Some Democrats have wanted the FCC to use its regulatory power to require public disclosure of contributors to super PACs, groups allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates or issues. The Senate last year narrowly voted down the Disclose Act, which would have mandated such disclosure.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also helped clear the way for the confirmations by saying he would not block the votes over an unrelated issue, his push to get the Obama administration to allow survivors of last year's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, to testify before Congress. Graham said he decided not to hold up the FCC nominations because they predated his hold related to Libya.

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