The independent blog on spectrum policy issues
that welcomes your input on the key policy issues of the day.

Our focus is the relationship between spectrum policy
and technical innnovation.

A net neutrality free zone: We pledge no mention of any net neutrality issues before 2018.

When they deserve it, we don't hesitate to criticize either NAB, CTIA or FCC.

Travis LeBlanc - New Chief of FCC's Enforcement Bureau

Travis LeBlanc has arrived at FCC as the new Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau in the past 2 weeks, His name is missing from the online telephone/e-mail directory, but it is shown along with the photo at left on the EB home page. (The “acting” seems to be formality and may be the result of a pending career SES appointment that needs approval from OPM.) We believe he is the first to hold that job who has not been a long term FCC staffer. However, he has been active in enforcement efforts in the California state government and thus probably has more enforcement experience than his predecessors at EB.

On March 4, 2014, Chmn. Wheeler announced his “intent to appoint” Mr. LeBlanc:

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced today his intent to appoint Travis LeBlanc as acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. Mr. LeBlanc previously served as a top deputy and senior advisor to California Attorney General Kamala Harris, overseeing the office’s operations and activities involving complex litigation and policy matters on a broad range of issues such as technology regulation, telecommunications, high-tech crime, cyber-security, privacy, intellectual property and antitrust.

“The credibility of the Commission’s rules depends on its enforcement activities,” said ChairmanWheeler. “Travis LeBlanc brings a wealth of experience with both federal and state law enforcement,most recently in the largest state Attorney General’s office in the country. He is a savvy prosecutor who also knows how to secure agreements with private companies in order to advance the public mission.”During his time in the Office of the California Attorney General, Mr. LeBlanc established and oversaw California’s first high-tech crime and privacy enforcement units. He also secured global agreements witha number of high-tech companies to protect consumer privacy, promote online safety and respectintellectual property rights.

Before joining the California AG, Mr. LeBlanc was an attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel at the United States Department of Justice, where he advised the President and Attorney General on significantmatters of constitutional, statutory and regulatory law. Prior to joining OLC, Mr. LeBlanc was anattorney at Keker & Van Nest LLP in San Francisco, and Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington DC,where he represented corporate and individual clients in criminal and civil cases in federal and statecourts.

Mr. LeBlanc holds an A.B. from Princeton University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, an M.P.A. from theJohn F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of Cambridge. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The Enforcement Bureau is the FCC’s largest bureau and the primary organizational unit responsible forenforcement of provisions of the Communications Act, the Commission’s rules, Commission orders andterms and conditions of station authorizations.

We welcome Mr. LeBlanc and wish him best as EB tries to sort out its priorities.

[We would like to point out, as we have previously, that the use of the phrase, “FCC Chairman X announced today his intent to appoint Y …” is apparently inappropriate since bureau chiefs are appointed by the Commission pursuit to Section 4(f)(1) of the Communications Act. However, the previous post shows that this type of announcement is not unique here: Chmn. Kinnard and Martin used the same active verbs. However, Chmn. Kinnard also used less active forms of statements as have Chmn. Powell and Hundt. Perhaps the active/passive verbs in the announcement depends on how sensitive the Chairman’s Office staffers are to the other commissioners or whether they are career civil servants themselves.]


In an FCC news release dated September 2, 2014 it was revealed that Mr. LeBlanc was still “Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau” almost 6 months after the announcement discussed above. Why the delay?

Possibly the previously discussed “back office problems”. Career SES appointments require OPM approval and peer review at OPM by SES career civil servants to minimize political players moving into such career positions. Perhaps HR was slow. Perhaps OPM is slow. No real evidence except the apparent delay in making his appointment final.

When I was promoted to SES in 1981 the final approval took a long time due to inattention in the FCC HR operation to getting the right information onto the paperwork to OPM. Perhaps the same is still going on?
blog comments powered by Disqus