After being recused because he used to lobby for CompTel against such mergers, the FCC's top lawyer, General Counsel Sam Feder, issued his 8-page decision: McDowell can vote. Business Week had the story last night:
In Feder's eight-page opinion, he argued that McDowell should be allowed to vote because he had not participated in the merger proceeding as a lobbyist, did not stand to gain financially from his vote and that it would be impossible for someone else to take his place in the proceeding.
But Feder was also clearly torn, noting that the Robert Cusick, director of the Office of Government Ethics had said the decision was a close call on which reasonable people could differ and that Cusick said he would decide against authorization but that "the FCC could reasonably come out the other way."
While McDowell, a former lobbyist for a trade group that opposes the merger, is authorized to participate, that doesn't mean he will be forced to vote yes or no. He could still abstain.