WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The following statement can be attributed to U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), the Ranking Democrat of House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, regarding the AT&T-BellSouth merger and FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin's request to the agency's general counsel to ascertain whether a presently-recused Commissioner may participate in the merger proceeding and vote upon it:

“I believe that forcing a Commissioner to participate in a proceeding in which he or she would otherwise be recused is an extraordinary notion for an independent, impartial regulatory agency.   Agency Commissioners must exercise independent, impartial, and unbiased judgment in matters before the Commission.  I encourage FCC Chairman Martin, as well as Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, and Tate, who have been participating in the merger proceeding, to concluded it in a timely fashion and, if approved, only with significant, enforceable consumer and competitive safeguards.  If the FCC General Counsel takes action to compel Commissioner McDowell’s participation, I strongly urge Commissioner McDowell to announce his intention to vote to abstain as a matter of principle.”

December 4, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein