Gigi Sohn Withdraws FCC Nomination

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Attorney Gigi Sohn is withdrawing her nomination to the Federal Communications Commission, she announced Tuesday.

“It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries, with assistance from unlimited dark money, get to choose their regulators,” Sohn told The Washington Post. “And with the help of their friends in the Senate, the powerful cable and media companies have done just that.”

Sohn made the announcement shortly after Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin came out against her nomination.

“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. 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,” Manchin said in a statement.

Republicans have expressed concern with Sohn’s potential conflicts of interest due to her time at a streaming service. Sohn worked as the director of Locast, a streaming platform that transmitted local news broadcasts over the internet. A federal judge ruled in September 2021 that the company was violating copyright laws, and it was subsequently shut down. Sohn later pledged to recuse herself from matters involving television broadcasting and retransmission rights.

Other members objected to Sohn’s partisan advocacy and statements. She founded a tech policy think tank that received funding from billionaires Pierre Omidyar and George Soros. Sohn also tweeted racially-charged attacks against former President Donald Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

GOP senators cheered Sohn’s withdrawal.

“The withdrawal of Ms. Sohn’s nomination is a major victory and represents a strong bipartisan agreement that we need a fair and impartial candidate who can receive the support needed for confirmation. The FCC is not a place for partisan activists; free speech is too important. Now, it’s time for the Biden administration to put forth a nominee who can be confirmed by the full Senate and is committed to serving as an even-handed and truly independent regulator,” Commerce Committee ranking member Ted Cruz of Texas said in a statement.

“Gigi Sohn is not only beholden to some of the largest big tech companies in the world, but her past statements prove that she’s nothing more than a partisan that doesn’t belong anywhere near an agency as critical as the FCC. It’s great news for Missourians and Americans that Gigi Sohn has withdrawn her nomination to the FCC,” Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt added.