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Obama picks Indian-American for key FCC post

November 01, 2011 10:28 IST
United States President Barack Obama has nominated Indian-American Ajit Varadaraj Pai as commissioner, federal communications commission, the White House said.

Pai is a partner in the litigation department of Jenner & Block LLP before which he worked in the Office of the General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission.

In the commission he had served as the deputy general counsel, associate general counsel and special adviser to the general counsel and advised FCC chairmen of both political parties and a number of current and former commissioners. He worked with every agency bureau and office on a wide variety of rule makings, adjudications and administrative matters.

Pai had significant legal and policy input on virtually every major decision the agency considered such as Internet network management, wireless spectrum auctions, the Sirius-XM merger and media and cable ownership questions. He also argued before and prevailed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Inc v FCC. He was responsible for non-communications legal matters, including privacy, intellectual property and environmental law.

Pai drafted a comprehensive revision of agency rules and procedures and led the Commission's response to the broadest Congressional investigation.

Previously, Pai served as chief counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights and as Senior Counsel at the Office of Legal Policy at the US Department of Justice. Pai also served as deputy chief counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the courts and as associate general counsel at Verizon Communications Inc.

With BA from Harvard University and a JD (Juris Doctor) from the University of Chicago, Pai began his career as a law clerk to Judge Martin L C Feldman of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and then as an honours programme trial attorney in the Telecommunications Task Force at the US Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

In 2010, Pai was one of the 55 individuals nationwide chosen for the 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellowship Programme, a leadership development initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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