Robert McDowell, a Republican commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, said Monday that he would refrain from voting on the deadlocked negotiations due to previous associations. McDowell was an attorney for the Competitive Telecommunications Association, or Comptel, a trade association representing smaller carriers that are critical of the AT&T-BellSouth merger.
Had Republican McDowell chosen to vote, he would have broken the 2-2 commission stalemate.
McDowell had previously stated he would not vote but the FCC general counsel came back clearing him to vote on the deal. But McDowell said that the rationale behind the decision was insufficient to persuade him to vote. "While I expected the legal equivalent of body armor, I was handed Swiss cheese," McDowell said.
Earlier in November, the new head of U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, stated he would welcome a delay to regulatory approval of AT&T Inc.'s proposed acquisition of BellSouth Corp. so the panel can review it. See (AT&T-Bellsouth Merger Hits Another Bump
The AT&T-Bellsouth merger has yet to win approval from the FCC (See AT&T-Bellsouth Merger Snags on FCC
) and could now be influenced to hold tight on a decision based on the comments from the Commerce Committee.
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