President Barack Obama has appointed Commissioner Michael Copps as acting chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, filling the seat emptied by former Chairman Kevin Martin's departure on Tuesday.
Obama has not yet named a permanent successor to Martin, who had been appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2005. Each incoming president appoints the head of the five-member commission, though commissioners serve staggered terms and Martin could have remained on the panel. The FCC is required to have at least two members from outside the president's party. Also on the commission are Democrat Jonathan Adelstein and Republican Robert McDowell.
Copps, a Democrat, began his first FCC term in 2001 and was sworn in for a second five-year term in 2006. Before joining the commission, Copps was an assistant secretary of commerce. He came to Washington in 1970 on the staff of Senator Ernest Hollings, a South Carolina Democrat, after being a professor of U.S. history at Loyola University of the South.
Copps does not need to be confirmed by Congress as acting chairman. According to published reports, Obama's intended pick for the permanent job is Julius Genachowski, a Harvard classmate and a technology adviser to his campaign and transition team.