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FCC commissioner can vote on AT&T's deal for Bellsouth

Published December 9, 2006


WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission's top lawyer on Friday authorized one of its members to vote on the proposed buyout of BellSouth Corp. by AT&T Inc., despite an apparent conflict of interest. The move could break a deadlock on the deal.

The decision came a week after FCC chairman Kevin Martin declared an impasse in the proceeding and asked general counsel Sam Feder to determine whether commissioner Robert McDowell, a former lobbyist, should be allowed to vote on the $84-billion acquisition.

The deal would be the biggest in U.S. telecommunications history.

The next open meeting for the agency is Dec. 20, but Martin said that he does not anticipate putting the issue up for a vote then. It would not give McDowell enough time to get "up to speed" on the issues, Martin said.

"I look forward to receiving a copy of Mr. Feder's response," McDowell said.

[Last modified December 8, 2006, 23:21:45]

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