9 August 2001
Satellite With a Foot in the Door
By Judy Sarasohn
The Washington Post
Thursday, August 9, 2001; Page A17
In the long-shot event that Hughes Electronics Corp. decides to accept EchoStar Communications Corp.'s surprise $32 billion bid for its DirecTV unit, EchoStar will be getting help with its Federal Communications Commission review of the deal from a former insider.
David Goodfriend, who most recently had been an adviser to former FCC commissioner Susan Ness, joined EchoStar last month as director of legal and business affairs, a new post at the direct broadcast satellite provider. In that job, he would be responsible for helping to shepherd the proposed deal through the FCC, which must sign off on it. The Justice Department antitrust review would be handled by outside counsel.
Although he's just off the FCC staff, his job didn't fall under ethics restrictions on lobbying commissioners or FCC personnel, Goodfriend said. Capitol Hill lobbying is done by EchoStar's Karen Watson.
Prior to going to work as a mass media and cable adviser to Ness on the FCC, Goodfriend served as deputy staff secretary in the Clinton White House, was a telecom lawyer at Willkie Farr & Gallagher and worked in various Capitol Hill offices.
Goodfriend said he was attracted to EchoStar because of its entrepreneurial culture: "We're the insurgents against the big bad cable companies." He also cited the fact that his brief tenure there has included regulatory work, FCC lobbying and business transactions.
"It's very rare you get one foot in the Washington world and one foot in the business world," he said. "It's really neat."
� 2001 The Washington Post Company