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Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty

Adam Candeub, current acting deputy of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, is being elevated to the role of Acting Assistant Secretary, according to an internal email shared with Axios.

Why it matters: His elevation to a top position at NTIA is sure to be controversial. Mother Jones reported in May that Candeub has ties to white nationalists. Candeub is also a vocal critic of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the law that makes it so online platforms are largely not responsible for what others post.

Context: The NTIA has historically been a fairly staid telecom agency tasked with a portfolio of internet-related issues as well as the management of federally held airwaves.

  • It's become more politically charged under the Trump administration, however. For instance, it was the agency responsible for asking the Federal Communications Commission to write rules to weaken Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, per President Trump's executive order on the matter.

Background: Until April 2020, Candeub was a law professor at Michigan State University. He previously worked at the FCC.

Go deeper

Oct 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Right-wing misinformation could gain steam post-election

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With less than a week until the 2020 election, researchers have expressed concern that the information ecosystem today is ripe for an unprecedented level of exploitation by bad actors, particularly hyper-partisan media and personalities on the right.

Why it matters: The misinformation-powered right-wing media machine that fueled Donald Trump's 2016 victory grew stronger after that win, and it's set to increase its reach as a result of the upcoming election, whether Trump wins or loses.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.