FCC Chairman, a Longtime Clinton Family Supporter, Chooses Hillary for 2016

Tom Wheeler / AP
May 4, 2015

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, a known partisan who supported former President Bill Clinton in the 90s, indicated on Monday his belief that Hillary Clinton will be the next president.

Wheeler was asked whether he would serve another term as FCC chairman and answered that "she hasn't asked me," a clear reference to Clinton, the sole female Democratic presidential nominee, according to the Hill.

An aide to Wheeler told the Hill that the comment was "made in jest" and "not an official endorsement," but Wheeler has been a supporter of the Clinton family in the past and personally benefited from policies enacted during Bill Clinton's administration.

In 1995, Wheeler was a guest at the Clinton White House for an event organized for "Clinton/Gore supporters."

Wheeler was at that time president of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), an organization that hired the Clinton's closest confidante Terry McAuliffe's lobbying firm. Both McAuliffe and a lobbyist from his firm were present at the White House event.

The relationship with the Clinton White House would turn out to work in Wheeler and CTIA's favor. Just one week after Wheeler attended the White House event, Clinton issued a directive to create a federal policy that would give telecommunications companies access to federal land to build transmission towers.

Companies previously had to be granted permission by local governments to build the towers, and the ability to bypass that "headache" was "critically important" for the industry at that time.

The directive was "hailed" by Wheeler's CTIA, which said the directive "will speed up the deployment of personal communications services throughout the country."

Wheeler contributed $1,000 to Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign, and has contributed several thousands to Democratic candidates over the years.