White House Tries To Push Unqualified ‘Cheney Clone’ Into Lucrative Telecomm Job

patel.gif One of the White House’s persistent gripes against the Senate is that it refuses to push through President Bush’s controversial nominees, including James Holsinger, a man with a history of homophobia whom Bush would like to become Surgeon General. There’s also the nomination of torture advocate Steven Bradbury to become chief of the Justice Department’s Office of Legislative Counsel.

A less-noticed controversial nominee also being blocked is Neil Patel, a senior aide to Vice President Cheney who was shortlisted to replace Scooter Libby. In March, President Bush nominated Patel to head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a division of the Commerce Department that shapes telecomm policy.

The problem with Patel is that he appears to be a crony nominee, with very little telecomm experience:

Several congressional and telecom insiders questioned how Patel, with relatively little communications experience, got the nod — albeit for what many consider a thankless job — and at time when the acting administrator has received mostly positive reviews from Democrats and Republicans. […]

Patel has no broadcast experience, though he previously served as assistant general counsel at an Internet service provider. He advises Cheney on several issues, including telecom policy.

Patel may have been pushing for the spot in order to take advantage of the revolving door after the Bush administration, “angling for a title he could turn into a well-paying lobbying job.” “They’re certainly not going to confirm a Dick Cheney clone so he can put a little star by his resume,” a source told CongressDaily.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has publicly spoken out in favor Patel’s nomination. Perhaps not surprisingly, Martin’s wife, Catherine, is also former Cheney aide.