Kevin Martin (FCC)

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Kevin J. Martin
Kevin Martin.jpg
25th Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
In office
March 18, 2005 – January 20, 2009
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Michael Powell
Succeeded by Julius Genachowski
Personal details
Born (1966-12-14) December 14, 1966 (age 48)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Catherine Jurgensmeyer

Kevin Jeffrey Martin (born December 14, 1966) was the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He was nominated to be a commissioner by President George W. Bush on April 30, 2001, and was confirmed on May 25, 2001. On March 16, 2005, President Bush designated him as FCC chairman, to replace Michael K. Powell.[1] President Bush renominated Martin to a new five-year term on the Commission on April 25, 2006, and he was reconfirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 17, 2006. In January 2009, Martin announced that he would step down from the FCC and join the Aspen Institute, as a senior fellow in the think tank's Communications and Society Program.[2] He has since become a partner with the law firm Squire Patton Boggs LLP.

Prior offices[edit]

Before becoming a commissioner, Martin was a Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. He served as the Deputy General Counsel to Bush-Cheney 2000, on the Bush-Cheney recount team in Florida, and on the presidential transition team. Before joining Bush-Cheney 2000, Martin served as legal advisor to FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, in the Office of the Independent Counsel, and as an associate of Wiley Rein LLP (see ([1], [2], [3]).

Upon graduation from law school, Martin served as a judicial clerk for Judge William M. Hoeveler of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.

Education[edit]

Martin went to Charlotte Catholic High School. He earned a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (where he was elected student body president), an M.P.P. from Duke University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the Florida Bar, District of Columbia Bar and the Federal Communications Bar Association. Martin married Catherine Jurgensmeyer[when?]; the couple reside in Washington, D.C.

Allegations of Misconduct[edit]

December 10, 2008, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee released a year-long 110 page report on the actions of Kevin Martin during his tenure as Chairman of the FCC.

Among the allegations, Kevin Martin is accused of manipulation of and withholding of data to advance his personal policy positions.[3]

In January 2009 the Committee launched a bipartisan investigation after allegations from past FCC employees, representatives of the Telecommunications industry as well as from other FCC commissioners. The report was issued in lieu of hearings due to the fact that key witnesses were unwilling to testify or be identified by name.

The report states that some of Kevin Martin's actions have led to price jumps for consumers of Telecommunications services. Lack of proper oversight for Telecom Relay Service (TRS) funds which allow people with speech or hearing disabilities to communicate with hearing people. This fund, which is paid for by companies who then relay the charges to their consumers had grown to more than $800 million. It is alleged that due to proper oversight, consumers were overcharged and providers were overcompensated nearing a total of $100 million yearly. The largest TRS provider, Sorenson, handles roughly 80% of these services, thus stood to gain the most from this lack of oversight. A previous attempt by the FCC to audit Sorenson by a contractor was denied when Sorenson prevented access to staff and systems necessary to conduct the audit. A probe was later launched, and in May 2013 Sorenson settled the probe and was ordered to pay $15.75 million.[4]

The report further states that on becoming the FCC Chairman in 2005, Martin ordered FCC staff to reverse a study finding which initially stated "a la carte" cable programming would not benefit consumers. Additionally, Martin demoted the Media Bureau chief who had been in charge of the study. [5]

Legacy[edit]

On January 15, 2009, Martin announced his resignation as the new Administration takes over. In a statement he said his philosophy during his tenure at the FCC "has been to pursue deregulation while paying close attention to its impact on consumers and the particulars of a given market, to balance deregulation with consumer protection." The statement notes what Martin accomplished during his tenure, including one promoting broadband, and specifically wireless broadband, and protecting consumers from harm, by issuing $150 million in fines, or more than any other chairman.[6]

Subsequent career[edit]

In 2013, Martin was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[7]

Beginning in September 2009, Martin began serving on the Board of Directors of the telecommunications hardware company, Xtera Communications. Xtera specializes in supplying network infrastructure for long-haul, submarine, metro and WAN applications.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Michael K. Powell
Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
March 18, 2005–January 20, 2009
Succeeded by
Julius Genachowski