Gigi Sohn President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) withdrew her name from consideration on Tuesday.
The White House confirmed that Sohn, who would have been a tie-breaking seat on the deadlocked FCC, withdrew her nomination. The commission currently has two Republican and two Democrat members, which means it can not enact any regulatory changes without bipartisan support.
The Washington Post reported that Sohn, who was nominated in October 2021, claimed her decision was in response to “unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks” from “legions of cable and media industry lobbyists, their bought-and-paid-for surrogates, and dark money political groups.”
Sohn’s opinions on hot-button issues before the FCC and social media posts prevented the Senate from holding a vote on her confirmation.
Sohn was one of the architects of net neutrality, a key piece of left-wing telecom policy, during the Obama administration, which was reversed under former President Donald Trump.
Her social media was filled with inflammatory partisan statements such as a tweet stating Fox News is “state-sponsored propaganda” because of a lack of opposing viewpoints. Her previous inflammatory statements, including those that demonized the police, drew the ire of both sides of the political aisle.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) said Tuesday, “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. 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.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called Sohn’s withdrawal “a major victory [that] represents a strong bipartisan agreement that we need a fair and impartial candidate who can receive the support needed for confirmation.”
He added, “The FCC is not the 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.”
During Sohn’s third confirmation hearing, Cruz said Sohn “If Ms. Sohn’s brazen theft of intellectual property, her lack of candor, and her conflicts of interest weren't disqualifying on their own, then her long record of poor judgment should seal her fate.”
Sohn claimed the criticism of her previous statements took an “enormous toll” on her and her family. “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.”