The Washington Post is reporting that Gigi Sohn, the Biden administration’s nominee for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will withdraw her nomination, after Democrats failed to stand up to an outrageous and bigoted smear campaign funded by the telecom industry. Sohn’s withdrawal plunges the Biden administration’s supposed priorities into peril: deadlocked at 2-2, the FCC will be unable to restore net neutrality, enforce privacy rules, or use its authority to protect the location data of people seeking or facilitating abortions.
Gigi Sohn was nominated by Joe Biden to fill the vacant fifth seat at the Federal Communications Commission in October of 2021, and renominated for a third time last month. Sohn is a veteran legal telecom expert, a fellow at Georgetown Law, co-founder of the group Public Knowledge, and for years an advisor to former FCC chair Tom Wheeler. Hundreds of groups, officials, companies—left, right and center—have publicly endorsed her. So why has her nomination languished? Therein lies the tale—a disheartening one of outsized corporate power and the denaturing of government’s public interest obligation, and of transparently scurrilous right-wing attacks, and lagging, inadequate response.