Obama to nominate Mignon Clyburn for FCC seat

President Obama will nominate Mignon Clyburn, a commissioner for the South Carolina Public Service Commission, for an open seat on the Federal Communications Commission. 

Clyburn has served on the South Carolina commission for the past 10 years, and before that she was the publisher and general manager of the Coastal Times, a weekly newspaper in Charleston. She was rumored to be the administration's pick for the open Democratic seat on the commission.

Clyburn, the oldest daughter of House majority whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), joins Julius Genachowski as Obama's second nominee to fill the three vacancies on the five-seat commission. Genachowski was nominated to be chairman in early March. No action has been taken on his nomination yet. Like him, Clyburn must be confirmed by the Senate.

Senate Republicans are insisting that Genachowski be paired with a Republican for the last open FCC seat, but have yet to select a choice, which has angered Democrats who want to see the commission seats filled. Some of the options being considered by the Republicans include Ajit Pai, a former congressional staffer and deputy general counsel at the FCC, and Lee Carosi Dunn, a long-time staffer to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

A person close to the FCC who asked not to be named said that the notion that Genachowski needs to be paired with a Republican for his nomination to move forward is misguided, and that blocking the nomination represents a "nihilistic view of government."

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps issued a statement after the Clyburn announcement praising her. "She is an excellent choice, and the experience she brings from her service on South Carolina's Public Service Commission will be an invaluable asset as we address the many challenges and opportunities that are before us," he said. "I wish her a successful Senate confirmation and look forward to working with her over the coming months and years in serving consumers and the public interest."

Verizon also applauded Mignon's selection. "Commissioner Clyburn is a well-qualified candidate, and her experience will be a welcomed asset as the commission moves forward with the critical work of developing the right policies to achieve the full potential and benefits of broadband," the company said in a statement. "We look forward to working with her."

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