21:19, July 25 388 0 law.com

2017-07-25 21:19:04
Trump’s Commerce GC Pick Discloses Verizon Compensation, Ethics Pledge

Peter Davidson.

Photo: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Peter Davidson, a former top lobbyist for Verizon Communications who is the Trump administration’s pick for U.S. Commerce Department general counsel, left the telecommunications giant in December with more than $3 million in salary, bonus, stock payments, severance and unused vacation time.

Davidson, formerly Verizon’s senior vice president for congressional relations, revealed his Verizon compensation plan and ethics pledge in documents published by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. He reported in his financial disclosure earning $726,250 in salary and bonus last year, in addition to a cash payment of $883,878 in Verizon restricted stock units, $728,250 in severance and $31,923 in unused vacation time. He also reported receiving nearly $1 million in Verizon performance stock units.

Davidson is set to appear Wednesday for his confirmation hearing at the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In his ethics agreement, Davidson said he would not “participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that to my knowledge has a direct and predictable effect on the financial interests of Verizon Communications” unless he first obtains a written waiver or other regulatory exemption.

Separately, in a Senate questionnaire, Davidson identified what he considered the Commerce Department’s three top challenges: updating “decades old” trade agreements; revitalizing infrastructure projects; and taking a fresh look at the regulatory landscape.

“America is facing an infrastructure crisis and Congress and the administration must work together to address our decaying roads, bridges, ports, airports, before we lose more ground to other countries with more advanced infrastructure,” he wrote.

The Commerce Department, following a directive from Trump, in March sought comments about the “impact of burdensome federal regulations” on U.S. manufacturers.

“America is a world leader in the technology sector and in the Internet ecosystem, but we must be vigilant that outdated laws and regulations don’t endanger this world leadership position,” he told the Senate commerce committee in a questionnaire.

In 2013, Davidson made a similar argument in a letter to a U.S. House committee: “Twentieth century regulation is holding back a 21st century communications market,” Davidson wrote in the letter to U.S. House members on the Energy and Commerce Committee. “It has been 17 years since Congress last significantly revamped the substantive provisions of the Communications Act.”

As part of Davidson’s ethics plan, he said he quit the National Association of Manufacturers board in December 2016 and he vowed to divest certain stock interests in more than a dozen major U.S. companies.

Davidson led Verizon’s government affairs team in Washington for more than 14 years. His team worked on issues that included data security and net neutrality. Federal disclosures show Verizon reported nearly $10 million in lobbying expenses since April 2016.

Davidson, a 1990 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, served as general counsel to the U.S. Trade Representative from 2001 to 2003. Earlier, he worked on legislative initiatives for Qwest as the telecommunications company’s vice president for congressional affairs.

Mike Scarcella in Washington contributed to this report.