Public Interest Champion Gigi Sohn Withdraws Nomination to FCC

Today, Gigi Sohn announced she is withdrawing her nomination to serve as commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission. Ms. Sohn was first nominated on October 26, 2021 but failed to receive a confirmation vote in the Senate. She was renominated by the White House on January 3, 2023.  More than 400 organizations and individuals across the political spectrum supported Ms. Sohn’s nomination.

Despite, the overwhelming support  Ms. Sohn faced a constant smear campaign orchestrated by industry opposition and dark money groups. Their goal was to keep the FCC deadlocked in a 2-2 split. A deadlocked FCC is unable to advance critical reforms needed to address the communications needs of all households.

Statement of Michael Copps, Common Cause Special Adviser and Former FCC Commissioner

“Senate treatment of this nomination has been, from beginning to end, sad, shoddy, and shameful.  And its treatment of Ms. Sohn a despicable dereliction of duty and honor.  A win for big-spending special interests, to be sure, but a tragic loss for the common good.

“We are disappointed that Ms. Sohn will be unable to serve as FCC Commissioner. She is a public interest champion who has spent her entire career advocating for policies that make broadband more affordable and accessible, defending an open internet, and promoting independent and diverse voices in our media ecosystem.  Ms. Sohn would have served as a critical voice on several initiatives before the FCC including restoring net neutrality, prohibiting digital discrimination, and combating media consolidation.

“Ms. Sohn’s nomination was ultimately derailed by industry gatekeepers and dark money groups who had a vested interest in maintaining the FCC’s current deadlock. For months, big money opposition engaged in a smear campaign that spread disinformation about Ms. Sohn’s character and record much of which has nothing to do with the FCC. In recent weeks, these attacks turned to a more hateful and bigoted nature. This disinformation playbook sets a dangerous precedent for future public interest champions who are asked to serve in government.

“With Ms. Sohn’s withdrawal, the FCC remains deadlocked. Industry must not be allowed to choose its regulator. We urge the White House to nominate an independent voice who will put the public interest ahead of corporate interests.”