President Biden renominated Gigi Sohn on Jan. 3 to serve on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), after her prior nominations to the FCC stalled in the Senate.
The president first nominated Sohn in October 2021, and the White House then refreshed her nomination in January 2022 because it had not been acted on by the Senate during the 2021 calendar year.
During a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing in February 2022, several Republican members objected to the nomination of Sohn – who was a key advisor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler – and headed the left-leaning Public Knowledge think tank from 2001 to 2013.
For instance, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., expressed concerns over a possible conflict of interest regarding her time on the board of Locast, a nonprofit that streamed broadcast TV signals and later shut down after losing a copyright infringement lawsuit.
It’s unclear whether last November’s Democratic Senate midterm wins could finally lead to a confirmation for Sohn, but the White House appears to be undeterred in its third bid to add her to the FCC and break the current 2-2 deadlock among Democratic and Republican commissioners.
The FCC is run by five commissioners nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, with the chair appointed by the president. Traditionally, three of the five commissioners are affiliated with the party in power at the White House, and two are from the other major party.
Currently, the FCC has only four commissioners – two Republicans and two Democrats – and Sohn’s confirmation would give the Democrats a majority on the commission and more leeway to advance Democrats’ initiatives.