Gigi Sohn, who was nominated by President Biden to serve as FCC commissioner over 16 months ago, has asked the president to withdraw her nomination.
In a statement, Sohn said that when she accepted the nomination, she “could not have imagined that legions of cable and media industry lobbyists, their bought-and-paid-for surrogates, and dark money political groups with bottomless pockets would distort my over 30-year history as a consumer advocate into an absurd caricature of blatant lies.”
She added that, “The unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks on my character and my career as an advocate for the public interest have taken an enormous toll on me and my family.”
When fully staffed, the FCC has five commissioners, and traditionally three of them represent the party in the White House, assuring the ability to make critical decisions by a majority vote.
Because Sohn’s nomination has been at a standstill for so long, the commission has been deadlocked since Biden took office, and Sohn said she expects that standstill to continue.
Her take on this: “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.
“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.
“It means that the FCC will not have a majority to adopt strong rules which ensure that everyone has nondiscriminatory access to broadband, regardless of who they are or where they live, and that low-income students will continue to be forced to do their school work sitting outside of Taco Bell because universal service funds can’t be used for broadband in their homes.
“And it means that many rural Americans will continue the long wait for broadband because the FCC can’t fix its Universal Service programs.”
Sohn thanked the president for his faith in her. She also thanked “my champions in the Senate who defended me at every turn” and “the dozens of people who volunteered their time and energy to help me through this process, as well as the over 400 organizations, companies and trade associations, and hundreds of thousands of individuals who registered their support with the Senate.”
Sohn said she hoped President Biden “swiftly nominates an individual who puts the American people first over all other interests.”
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