Biden's Radical Pick for FCC Withdraws Her Name From Consideration

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool

Gigi Sohn, a hyper-partisan activist veteran of the Obama administration, has withdrawn her name from consideration to serve as the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.


Sohn was nominated last year but was unable to make it out of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, after the vote to send her name to the Senate floor ended in a 14-14 tie. Biden tried again this year but Sen. Joe Manchin indicated he would vote against her nomination, and Sohn reluctantly withdrew — with both guns blazing.

“As someone who has advocated for my entire career for affordable, accessible broadband for every American, it is ironic that the 2-2 FCC will remain sidelined at the most consequential opportunity for broadband in our lifetimes,” Sohn said in a statement. “This means that your broadband will be more expensive for lack of competition, minority and underrepresented voices will be marginalized, and your private information will continue to be used and sold at the whim of your broadband provider.”

Sohn’s statement blamed “cable and media industry lobbyists, their bought-and-paid-for surrogates, and dark money political groups with bottomless pockets.”

Manchin pointed to Sohn’s partisanship as the reason he couldn’t support her.


“Especially now, the FCC must remain above the toxic partisanship that Americans are sick and tired of, and Ms. Sohn has clearly shown she is not the person to do that,” Manchin said. “For those reasons, I cannot support her nomination to the FCC, and I urge the Biden administration to put forth a nominee who can bring us together, not drive us apart.”


Prior to being elected, Biden promised that he would reverse Trump’s deregulatory moves and return to the Obama administration’s policy of net neutrality. Sohn was a chief architect of that policy.

The commission will now remain deadlocked between two Republican-appointed commissioners and two Democratic-appointed ones for the foreseeable future, only able to pass bipartisan proposals.

Several tweets by Sohn that were critical of Donald Trump and other Republicans emerged during the confirmation process as well as several campaign contributions to Democrats. She also angered the Fraternal Order of Police, who called out her “refusal to disavow many of the extreme positions of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on law enforcement technology, lawful access to digital evidence, and their lionization of Edward J. Snowden.” That was enough to sink her nomination with Republicans and eventually some Democrats.


Related: Top Law Enforcement Groups Line Up to Oppose Biden FCC Nominee

For the moment, two Republicans and two Democrats sit on the FCC. This is exactly what the GOP wants. Biden will be unable to get any rules passed on net neutrality or other issues like a public option for broadband.

Eventually, Biden will get around to nominating someone else. But the president is on notice that he’s going to have to choose someone with at least some bipartisan appeal — a task he has been unable to do so far.



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