Powell Appoints Nancy Victory to WRC-07 Post

October 17, 2003. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell appointed Nancy Victory to be Chair of the FCC's Advisory Committee for the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07). See, FCC release [PDF].

Nancy VictoryVictory (at right) was previously the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, that is, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). She resigned in August following a finding by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Commerce (DOC) that she had violated rules governing the ethical standards for federal government employees. See, OIG Memorandum dated June 25, 2003.

The OIG memorandum states that "on October 14, 2001, six individuals (five of whom were employed by telecommunications companies or associations; one of whom was a partner at Wiley, Rein & Fielding, a law firm specializing in wireless telecommunication law and Victory's old law firm) hosted a party for Victory at her home, the cost of which was borne by the hosts' respective employers. According to Victory, approximately 60 people attended the event." (Parentheses in original.) The memorandum states that the catering bill came to $2,925.

The OIG memorandum states that then, "on October 24, 2001, Victory filed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of the Administration in which she urged the repeal of commercial mobile radio service spectrum aggregation limits (the spectrum ``cap´´)." (Parentheses in original.)

Subsequently, on November 8, 2001, the FCC announced that it had adopted a Report and Order that would sunset the Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) spectrum cap rule by eliminating it effective January 1, 2003, raise the cap immediately to 55 MHz in all markets until the sunset date, and immediately eliminate the cellular cross-interest rule in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), but retain the rule in Rural Service Areas (RSAs). See FCC release.

This Report and Order is FCC 01-328 in WT Docket No. 01-14. See also, story titled "FCC to Phase Out CMRS Spectrum Cap" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 305, November 9, 2001.

The OIG memorandum states that "Victory denied that the funding of the party by individuals and organizations involved in the telecommunications industry influenced her conduct of her duties or her policymaking decisions as Assistant Secretary for Telecommunications and Information. Victory specifically denied that the funding of the party influenced her position on the issue of wireless spectrum caps."

It also states that the people who paid for the party "denied participating in the party with the intent of influencing Victory's official conduct".

The OIG memorandum concludes that "Victory's acceptance of the party violated 5 C.F.R. §2635.101(b)(4), which prohibits employees from accepting gifts from any person or entity whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee's duties. Victory's acceptance of the gift also violated 5 C.F.R. §2635.202(a), which, among other things, prohibits employees from accepting a gift from a prohibited source."

It also concludes that "By accepting such a gift, Victory also violated 5 C.F.R. §2635.101(b)(14), which requires employees to endeavor to avoid any actions which create the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards contained in the Standards of Ethical Conduct of Employees of the Executive Branch."

Finally, the OIG memorandum, which was directed to the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Samuel Bodman, states that "Based on the evidence disclosed in our investigation, we recommend that you take appropriate administrative action against Victory for violation of 5 C.F.R. §§2635.101(b)(4), 2635.101(b)(14) and 2635.202(a)."

The OIG memorandum is dated June 25, 2003. It also identified a 60 comment period for the Deputy Secretary.

Before her appointment as head of the NTIA, Victory was a partner in the law firm of Wiley Rein & Feilding (WRF). Her husband, Michael Senkowski, is a partner at WRF, Chairman of WRF's Telecommunications and Internet & E-Commerce Practices, and Chairman of WRF's Business Development Committee.

Michael GallagherOn October 14, President Bush formally nominated Michael Gallagher (at right) to be head of the NTIA. He was named acting Assistant Secretary in August. See, White House release.

Gallagher was previously Deputy Chief of Staff at the DOC. Before that, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for the NTIA. He has also worked for AirTouch Communications, former Rep. Rick White (R-WA) (who is now CEO of TechNet), and the law firm of Perkins Coie.

FCC Chairman Powell also appointed Peter Hadinger to be Vice-Chair of the WRC-07 Advisory Committee. He is Director of Communications Initiatives for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology Sector.

Alex Roytblat, Assistant Chief of the Strategic Analysis and Negotiations Division of the FCC's International Bureau, will direct the Commission's WRC-07 preparatory activities and be the Designated Federal Official to the Advisory Committee. Roytblat also directed the FCC's preparatory activities for the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference.