WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) on Friday vowed to fight the nomination of top Capitol Hill staffer Jonathan Adelstein to the Federal Communications Commission’s vacant Democratic seat.
Lott insisted his opposition to Adelstein, an aid to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), had nothing to do with last Thursday’s vote scrubbing the appointment of U.S. District Judge Thomas Pickering to the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Adelstein “doesn’t have the experience,” Lott said.
Adelstein has handled media and telecommunications issues for Daschle since 1995.
Last month, Lott told a group of broadcasters that he wasn’t happy with the direction the Republican-controlled FCC was taking, and that in the future, he would call for more rigorous screening of FCC nominees. Lott didn’t mention Adelstein by name at the time, and appeared to be most peeved at the FCC’s GOP chair, Michael Powell.
Now the matter appears to have become entangled in partisan posturing. The White House has yet to forward Adelstein’s name to the Senate.
The FCC vacancy means a 3-1 split, with commissioner Michael Copps as the lone Democrat.
Responding to Lott’s threat regarding Adelstein, Daschle said it wouldn’t be prudent or wise for Republicans to engage in tit-for-tat, as Dems control the Senate and could block more Bush appointees.
“Adelstein had nothing to do with the Pickering nomination, so to lash out at him is an unfortunate set of circumstances that I hope will cause Senator Lott to reconsider,” said Daschle on CBS’ “Meet the Press” Sunday morning.
(Wire services contributed to this report.)