Joe Biden’s nominee to run the FCC, Gigi Sohn, withdrew herself from consideration Tuesday, March 7. After three hearings spread out over a long 16 months, it was clear to most that the progressive activist’s confirmation process stalled essentially right out of the gate. Gigi Sohn had blamed her lack of success on sexism and homophobia, playing the victim card to guilt the Senate into speeding things along, but no amount of identity politics could ever save her from herself. When Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) openly announced he wouldn’t vote for her, however, even she couldn’t deny the end had come.
End of the Road for Gigi Sohn
Gigi Sohn had been one of the architects of net neutrality during the Obama years, only to see her work largely undone by President Donald Trump’s deregulation campaign. No doubt she, Biden, and the Senate Democrats who would have voted for her hoped that her position as the tie-breaking vote on the FCC’s current 2-2 ideological split would have ushered in the policy’s return.
Those dreams are dashed.
“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,” Sen. Manchin said in a statement. “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.”
Even if that very public denouncement by a Senate Democrat hadn’t proven to be the final nail in Sohn’s political coffin, there certainly were others.
A Progressive Activist in Denial
As Liberty Nation reported shortly after her third and final confirmation hearing in mid-February, Gigi Sohn had a long record of progressive political activism and corruption. She is on record as calling Fox News “state-sponsored propaganda” that has a negative effect on democracy, and she floated the idea during a Senate hearing of censoring Fox and other conservative media networks. She vocally and financially supported a group dedicated to defunding the police that called law enforcement a form of white supremacy.
Sohn had been found guilty of capturing and retransmitting broadband signals without permission using an app called Locast, after which the court ordered her to pay $32 million in settlement – a payment that was later reduced to just $700,000 when she received the Biden nomination. Despite blaming, in part, corporate dark money for her failure to launch, she contributed to the campaigns of a dozen Democrat senators who, had a confirmation vote been called, would have gone on to either confirm or reject her appointment – all while her nomination was active. When an activist group protested a donor event for Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), saying that the donors were trying to buy a senator, she tweeted out her support. As Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) put it during the last hearing, “[i]f they were trying to buy a senator, were you trying to buy senators when you made your dozen contributions?” No, no, of course not.
However, Gigi Sohn didn’t let go of the dark money narrative, even as she walked away from the nomination. “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 a prominent Washington paper. “And with the help of their friends in the Senate, the powerful cable and media companies have done just that.”
“We appreciate Gigi Sohn’s candidacy for this important role,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press conference Tuesday. “She would have brought tremendous intellect and experience, which is why the president nominated her in the first place.” But Sen. Cruz called the 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.”
All attempts at leveraging identity politics and victimhood aside, the nomination of Gigi Sohn followed an all-too-familiar pattern with the Biden administration and, indeed, the left in general today. From anti-Second Amendment ATF picks David Chipman and Steve Dettelbach to the coal-killing choice for comptroller or the nominee to lead CBP who doesn’t believe the border situation is a crisis, it’s entirely fair to ask if Biden has any non-activist nominees.
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