William Barr, nominee for U.S. Attorney General, was general counsel and executive VP for Verizon for 2000-2008.
Six Things to Know About AG Nominee William Barr
- Senators Choose Sides
- Confirmation and Praise from Joe Biden in 1991
- Tenure as Attorney General
- Views on Independent Investigators
- The Clintons and Uranium One
- Verizon, the CIA, and More
From 1973 to 1977, Barr was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency. Barr also served as Attorney General under President George W. Bush.
After leaving the Justice Department in 1993, Barr built a career in corporate law, serving as general counsel and executive vice president of Verizon Communications Inc. from 2000 to 2008. He was general counsel for GTE Corp. from 1994 until 2000, helping to negotiate a merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic Corp. that produced Verizon Communications. Barr spent more than 14 years as a senior corporate executive. At the end of 2008 he retired from Verizon Communications, having served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of GTE Corporation from 1994 until that company merged with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon.
During his corporate tenure, Barr directed a successful litigation campaign by the local telephone industry to achieve deregulation by scuttling a series of FCC rules, personally arguing several cases in the federal courts of appeals and the Supreme Court.
This may have set the stage for the elimination of legacy POTS (Plain old telephone switched) copper line landlines.
If Barr becomes Attorney General and heads up the U.S. Department of Justice, it will affect all Smart Meter, wireless, cellphone, and cell tower legal cases. It could impact and gut ADA protections for those disabled by electromagnetic sensitivity (EMS). This appointment would block public access to the Department of Justice for legal remedies. His appointment will effectively be a telecom corporate takeover of the DOJ.
The timing is horrendous as the FCC is rushing to eliminate local and state authority over the installation of Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antennas (aka
small cells) in residential neighborhoods.
It is urgent to contact the US Senators now and call President Trump to oppose this devastating nominee. Messages to the White House comment operators should be non-partisan, issue-based, civil, and have substance. Also contact your congressmen or congresswomen; though they can’t confirm nominees, but they can certainly oppose them.
It will take overwhelming public opposition, and environmental, medical, health, and consumer organization opposition to stop this appointment. It must be done.
202-456-1111 White House comment line
- Kamala Harris — 202-224-3553; 202-224-2200 FAX
- Dianne Feinstein — 202-224-3841; 202-228-3954 FAX
Other Senator Contact information is here.
New York Times Article from Jan 20, 1997:
When William P. Barr is prepping for a big legal case, he brooks no interruptions. And this week, Mr. Barr was holed up in a hotel room here preparing for one of the biggest cases of his career: the GTE Corporation's challenge of the Federal Government's rules on opening up the
$100 billion local telephone business.
So when he received a call from GTE's chairman, Charles R. Lee, Mr. Barr told him, ''You have 60 seconds.''
Normally, a company's general counsel would not treat his chairman like a junior associate at a law firm. But Mr. Barr is not a normal general counsel; he is a former United States Attorney General under President George Bush. He is also leading a landmark legal assault on how the Government plans to carry out the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
On Friday morning, Mr. Barr stood up in a Federal court here to deliver his 40-minute argument. His basic thrust was that the Federal Communications Commission had no business ordering GTE or other local phone companies to open their networks to new competitors like long-distance providers or cable system operators. The same court has already temporarily suspended the FCC rules that do this. Several experts said they expected the court to overturn them entirely.
This is a case in which a Federal agency has run riot with the mandate given to it by Congress,said Laurence H. Tribe, a constitutional expert at Harvard Law School who was hired by several regional Bell telephone companies that are following GTE's lead in suing the Government. Mr. Tribe is helping Mr. Barr draft his argument.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is not expected to rule on the case until spring. But Mr. Barr's campaign may have already had an effect: The FCC has softened its stance toward the local phone companies in subsequent proceedings. And Mr. Barr has become a standard bearer for those who believe the Government is shackling GTE and the Bells in its zeal to unshackle the rest of the industry.
''I'm not a bomb thrower by any means,'' Mr. Barr said in an interview after he completed his oral argument, ''but my basic philosophy is that you don't get anywhere by kowtowing to regulators.''
Officials at the FCC, however, said Congress directed them to open up the local telephone market. They said Mr. Barr's tactics were downright incendiary.He has turned this into a sort of holy war,one top official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.The problem with holy wars is that they take you where you don't want to go.
If GTE prevails in its case, the F.C.C. fears, the competition promised by the telecommunications act will be strangled by countless other legal challenges. Officials say that allowing the states to dominate the process, as Mr. Barr proposes, would result in a crazy-quilt of regulations that could deter potential new competitors like AT&T or Time Warner.
And executives from these companies and other potential new rivals say that if Mr. Barr succeeds, GTE and other local companies will be able to thwart them simply by making it too costly for these newcomers to gain access to their local networks . . .
In 1994, Mr. Barr accepted an offer to join GTE, the largest provider of local phone service, with 17 million customers and more than $20 billion in revenues. Despite its size, GTE has not developed a strong image in an industry dominated by AT&T, MCI Communications, and ambitious Bell companies like Bell Atlantic. GTE is based in Stamford, Conn.
But for a lawyer seeking to take on the regulators, GTE does have one crucial advantage: Unlike the Baby Bells, it was allowed to expand into long distance as soon as the telecommunications act became law last February. GTE has already attracted nearly 850,000 long-distance customers — and is signing them up at a rate of 6,000 a day.
The Bells, by contrast, have to satisfy a checklist of requirements before they can get into the market — chief among them, that there is genuine competition in their local market. It is up to the FCC to decide when a Bell company has met the checklist. Because the Bells face this day of reckoning with the FCC, they were reluctant to take on the commission in August, when it released its first set of rules governing local competition.
Barr went to Federal court a few days after the rules were released, asking that they be immediately stayed. When only one of the other seven Bell companies joined in the request, Mr. Barr said the companies were suffering from the Stockholm syndrome — a condition in which hostages fall in love with their captors. The seven Bell companies have since thrown their support behind GTE. But executives at several of the Bells said Mr. Barr's sweeping pronouncements still made them nervous.
Ameritech, for example, recently became the first Baby Bell to file for permission to get into the long-distance market. The company, which offers local phone service in five Midwestern states, said it was concerned about anything that would distract from that effort, according to Kelly Welsh, the company's general counsel.
In his oral argument on Friday, Mr. Barr accused the FCC of overstepping its jurisdiction in setting the prices that local phone companies must charge new competitors for access to their local networks. It is an argument well-suited to his legal philosophy, which he said emphasizes the prerogatives of the states and the sanctity of property rights.
Mr. Barr, who is a conservative Republican, said the commission's approach to regulation was reminiscent of thecentral planningof Communist governments.This approach still has support in pockets like Pyongyang and Havana,he said in a quip that provoked hearty laughs from the three judges in the St. Louis courtroom.
Mr. Barr has also enjoyed poking fun at the F.C.C.'s chairman, Reed E. Hundt. When Mr. Hundt recently described the three major planks of the deregulatory process as atrilogy,Mr. Barr declared,Having seen Moe, I don't hold out much hope for Larry and Curly.
Such remarks rankle officials at the FCC, who noted that Mr. Barr was lucky his case had been assigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Two of the judges on the panel, Pasco M. Bowman and Roger L. Wollman, were appointed by President Ronald Reagan, while the third, David R. Hanson, was named by President Bush. In their opinion granting the stay, the judges were sharply critical of the FCC's effort to assert jurisdiction over the states.
With victory in the air and a Scotch in his hand, Mr. Barr was not about to touch that issue.They're good judges,he said blandly.