FCC nominee Gigi Sohn defends himself against ‘completely false’ attacks

Gigi Sohn, longtime public interest advocate who was nominated as the fifth commissioner at Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has defended herself against the “false” attacks that have been made against her over the past few weeks during Wednesday’s hearing.

Sohn appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee for a second confirmation hearing on Wednesday. The hearing itself had blown up by advocacy groups was “innocent” and was nothing more than another way for Republicans to attack her nomination.

While Republicans have attacked Sohn .’s nomination since the day Biden announced itshe has received many positive reviews from experts and almost 250 organizations and hundreds of thousands of people have signed an online petition in support of her. An advocacy group told Daily Dot she is “historically one of the most qualified people nominated” to the FCC.

Since her first hearing last December – the committee has never voted on her nomination, forcing Biden to nominate her again for the role earlier this year – Republican settled on an offensive line. Led by the committee’s ranking member, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), they fixed on a settlement agreement signed by Locast, a service that allows people to watch television over the network has been sued by the networks. Sohn serves on that nonprofit’s board of directors.

Republicans brought up Locast several times during her initial confirmation hearing and subsequent questions about the record, which Sohn responded to afterward.

On Wednesday, Wicker asked Sohn if she was “dodging” in her answers about where the money came from in the settlement, an accusation she has vehemently defended.

Sohn explained that she was bound by a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the details of the agreement. Other Republicans, specifically Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), hinted at the timing of the lawsuit and its settlement as nefarious and tied to Sohn’s nomination, an allegation. which she vehemently denied.

But the focus on the last second on Locast, and the decision to voluntarily repurpose itself from Locast-related and other problems of retransmissions, has resulted in “relentless, zero” attacks fair and completely wrong,” Sohn said. She also said the attacks were an attempt by the telecom industry to try and deflect her nomination.

Lobbyists told Judge Washington in December, they hoped that Sohn’s nomination would be delayed because the FCC’s 2-2 deadlock had prevented them from voting on some issues they didn’t want to happen, such as reinstating the federal funds. net neutrality rules and the agency’s jurisdiction over broadband.

If confirmed, Sohn would be the third Democrat on the committee and give Democrats a majority vote on issues requiring partisan voting. The FCC has been in a partisan stalemate since Biden took office.

In her opening remarks, she spoke out directly about the attacks.

“I realized this isn’t all about me. It’s about some people wanting to stop the FCC from doing its vital job of making sure everyone in the US has strong broadband no matter who they are, what their income is, or where they live, under the provisions of the bipartisan infrastructure law,” Sohn said. “It is to prevent the FCC from ensuring that the media is diverse and serves the needs of the local community. It’s about stopping the FCC from making sure our network is resilient when the next disaster strikes, so that the public stays connected and safe. It is about stopping the work that Congress, including all of you and your predecessors, has forced this important body to do. “

Sohn continued:

“A deadlocked agency doesn’t help, saving a few large corporations. But most importantly, it hurts the American people, who need the FCC to make tough decisions.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) agreed with Sohn in her round of questioning shortly after her opening remarks, praising her for having “faced off with virtual innuendos and accusations.” this idea.”

“You are absolutely right, the reason you are here is older than you. It’s part of an effort to break the deadlock, disarm and neutralize the FCC,” the senator said.

Sohn repeated the same thing when questioned by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), saying that she “some very large companies… would like to see the FCC continue to stalemate” and that they “have no secrets.” secret”. opposed her nomination.

Some Republicans also questioned whether she should re-use herself from other issues she spoke out about while at Public Knowledge, a public interest group she co-operates with. founder or not.

In the wake of Republicans expressing their displeasure over Sohn’s connection to Locast, she agreed to voluntarily decline to bring issues before the FCC regarding retransmissions. In her disclaimer, she also points to a petition to develop rules for the FCC that she signed while at Public Knowledge. The refusal led some Republicans to suggest that she should redefine herself from any possible pre-FCC problems that Public Knowledge has considered (basically the entire FCC vehicle). ), which she vehemently refused.

“As the experts have noted, my opt-out is voluntary, temporary, and extremely limited and business concerns are unlikely to come before the FCC fully. But now, it’s opening the door to every other industry looking to turn down every position that I and Public Knowledge have ever supported. Such an outcome would be erroneous and would prohibit anyone – not just public interest advocates and academics – who take any public position on telecommunications and media policy from being served. in the FCC,” Sohn said

It’s unclear when the Senate Commerce Committee will vote on Sohn’s nomination.

The committee is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Given Republican opposition to her nomination, that means all Democrats on the committee will need to vote to remove her nomination from the committee. However, Senator Ben Ray Luján (DN.M.) recently suffered a stroke. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Having a vote without Luján risks Sohn not getting the votes needed to advance from the committee for a full Senate vote, meaning a vote will not be held in the future. near future.

*First published: February 9, 2022, 3:29 p.m. CST

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is the Daily Dot’s deputy technology editor. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Association of Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/gigi-sohn-fcc-confirmation-hearing-defends-against-false-attacks/ FCC nominee Gigi Sohn defends himself against ‘completely false’ attacks

Jake Nichol

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