8 Comm. Law. 1 (1990)

handle is hein.journals/comlaw8 and id is 1 raw text is: ,t
C ommunications
,C                  Publication of the Forum
on Communications Law
American Bar Association
Volume 8, Number 1, Winter 1990

Interview with Robert L. Pettit,
General Counsel for the
Federal Communications Commission
[Editors' Note: On December 1, 1989, CL editors David Leibowitz and Marcia Cranberg met with Federal
Communications Commission General Counsel Robert L. Pettit for a discussion on a range of commu-
nications law issues. Following are excerpts from the discussion.]

Background
Question:
Could you describe
your   professional
background?
Answer:
Actually, I've been
in and out of the gov-
ernment     several
times. I first came to
town to be a summer
law  clerk at this
agency for Dick Wiley,
when he was Chair-
man of the FCC in
1976. I worked briefly
in the [FCC's] Broad-
cast Bureau when I
got out of law school,
went into   private
practice for awhile,
came back with Mimi
Dawson for four years
when she was an FCC
Commissioner, and
then I returned to pri-
vate  practice  for
awhile. In the mean-
time, Mimi [Dawson]
became Deputy Secretary of
Transportation, and she and Jim
Burnley, the Secretary, asked if I'd
be interested in becoming the As-
sociate Deputy Secretary. The
President appointed me to that
post, which I held for the last year
or so of the Reagan administra-
tion. I came back to private prac-
tice, without much thought to
going back to government ser-

vice, but then Al Sikes asked if I'd
be interested in being the FCC
General Counsel, and here I am.
As I think back on it, it sounds as
though I can't keep a job, but I
suspect it's not an unusual Wash-
ington career path.
Question:
Didn't you also have a role after
President Bush was elected in di-
recting the Commission's transi-

tion under the new
administration?
Answer:
Yes. In December
last year, Sherrie Mar-
shall, who is now one
of the Commissioners
here-but at the time
was working with
Boyden Gray in the
Office of Transition
Counsel-called and
asked me if I would be
interested in working
on the transition for
independent agen-
cies. This was quite a
scaled-down version
as compared to pre-
vious transitions. As a
matter of fact, I had
responsibility not only
for the FCC but for the
Consumer Product
Safety Commission as
well. But as Boyden
always liked to say,
this was a friendly
takeover, not a hos-
tile takeover. In fact, it was the
first time since 1929 that one Re-
publican administration had fol-
lowed   another   Republican
administration.
Question:
What issues arose relating to the
Federal Communications Com-
mission transition?
Continued on page 20

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