Geoffrey Starks, currently an Assistant Chief in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, will, according to multiple reports released last week, be nominated to fill the FCC Commissioner’s seat currently held by Mignon Clyburn. Commissioner Clyburn, as we wrote here, has announced that she will be stepping down. She has already ceased participating in FCC meetings and on most other Commission decisions. If nominated as expected and confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Starks will be the second Democratic Commissioner, joining Jessica Rosenworcel. His term will run until 2022. Senate consideration of his nomination is likely to be paired with an extension of the term of Commissioner Carr, the most recent Republican to join the FCC, coming on board last year (see our article here). If both are approved, the FCC will continue with a 3-2 Republican majority as is usual during the administration of a Republican president.
Mr. Starks does not have a public history of direct involvement with broadcast issues, though presumably his position in the Enforcement Bureau gives him some exposure to those issues. Prior to his service at the FCC, he worked with the Department of Justice, as an attorney in a big DC law firm and clerked for a US Court of Appeals judge. With the Commission likely to be dealing with numerous important broadcast issues in the coming year, we will be watching to see how his positions on these issues develop.