Impact of Bush IT Advisory Panel Remains Unclear

Technology industry officials said they hope President Bush's appointment of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Floyd Kvamme to co-chair an advisory committee will help keep IT issues at the top of the administration's agenda. But it's still unclear just how much influence Kvamme and his panel will have on government policies.

Bush announced last week that Kvamme will be co-chairman of the President's Committee of Advisers on Science and Technology.

Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, a trade group in Alexandria, Va., said he believes the appointment will offer the IT industry "another critical avenue into the president and his high-tech advisers."

But Dave McClure, president of the Washington-based U.S. Internet Industry Association, said he doesn't expect Kvamme's committee to play a significant role in formulating technology-related policies.

"I can't see it being a major player because the action is not at the White House," McClure said. "The action is in Congress."

The committee's other co-chairman will be Bush's science adviser, a post that hasn't yet been filled. In making Kvamme's appointment public last week, Bush steered clear of controversial issues like data privacy and Internet taxation.

Kvamme, a partner in the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in Menlo Park, Calif., is "a risk taker [who] understands risk and reward," Bush said during a meeting with high-tech officials at the White House. "But more importantly, he knows the [IT] players, the people who can bring good, sound advice to this administration."

Copyright © 2001 IDG Communications, Inc.

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