President Barack Obama last week announced intentions to nominate Mignon(like the steak) Clyburn of South Carolina to one of five spots on the Federal Communications Commission. She is the daughter of U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina’s sixth congressional district.
Congressman Clyburn defends his daughter’s qualifications for the appointment, saying there is no foundation to criticism that other appointees are more qualified and have law degrees. He says even the Commission Chairperson is not an attorney. “I don’t know where that foolishness came from. The chairman is Michael Cox. Where did all that come from that you need to be a lawyer to serve on the commission? That’s a little bit bizarr to me. She’s a person who is 47 years old, ran a newspaper for 14 years and served on the Public Service Commission for 11 years.”
Mignon Clyburn has served on the South Carolina Public Service Commission, the state oversight body for private utilities, for 11 years. The General Assembly elected her to the position in 1998. She chaired the commission between 2002 and 2004.
The Public Service Commission has jurisdiction over investor-owned electric and gas utility companies, water and waste water companies, as well as telecommunications companies and hazardous waste disposal.
For 14 years prior to her election, she ran a weekly newspaper in the Charleston area called the Coastal Times.
Congressman Clyburn says Mignon was appointed by the President, who was well aware of her qualifications. “What do you have to do to be qualified? You run a business for 14 years. You serve on the state commission that does the same thing as the FCC for 11 years and chair it for two years. And you also chair the National Association of State Public Service Commissions. She seems to be more qualified than most people I know.”
The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international radio, television, wire, satellite and cable communications. The five members of the F.C.C. must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate for five-year terms. One of the five members serves as chairperson.
No more than three commissioners can be members of the same political party and none can have a financial interest in any commission-controlled business.