Gigi Sohn, Biden’s FCC nominee, has dropped out following a bruising lobbying battle

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President Biden’s bid to serve as telecommunications regulator is being withdrawn He was nominated to the Federal Communications Commission following a bitter 16-month lobbying battle that blocked his appointment and opened him up to relentless personal attacks.

Gigi Sohn, a longtime public interest advocate and former Democratic FCC official, was first nominated by the White House in October 2021. She said the decision to withdraw It follows the “relentless, dishonest and vitriolic attacks” planted by cable and media industry lobbyists. Opposition to Sohn turned the relatively low-profile position into the focus of an unprecedented fight, including three Senate confirmation hearings, a series of ads and a billboard criticizing Sohn as “radical” and “racist.” .

Sohn’s decision to bow out plunges the Biden administration’s ambitious internet agenda into disarray and continues more than two years of stalemate at the FCC. Biden went into office on promises to deregulate during the Trump administration and restore Obama-era net neutrality protections. But the FCC has stalled on these pledges amid a 2-2 split, undermining the administration’s plans.

Biden’s internet is in turmoil amid a long battle for FCC nomination

“It’s a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries with the help of unlimited dark money elect their regulators,” Sohn said in a statement shared exclusively with The Washington Post. “With the help of their friends in the Senate, the powerful cable and media companies have done just that.”

The collapse of Son’s nomination is an encouraging signal of White House political power. The administration was unable to unify Democrats behind Son’s nomination in a narrowly divided Senate. Shortly before Son announced his decision to step down, Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.V.) dealt a major blow by announcing he would vote against him, accusing him of having “partisan alliances with far-left groups.”

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“Especially now, the FCC needs to rise above the toxic discrimination that Americans are sick and tired of, and Ms. Sohn has clearly shown that she is not the person to do that,” Manchin said in a statement.

Conservative groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars partisan and aggressively attacking Sohn, leading a campaign in many moderate Democratic states that were already on the fence about Sohn’s nomination. “Gigi Sohn is too serious for the FCC,” read a billboard in Las Vegas, with Sohn’s face and a link to the website for the American Accountability Foundation, a group opposed to Biden’s nominees. AAF and another conservative nonprofit, the Center for a Free Economy, have put up more than $200,000 in Facebook ads opposing Chohan.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said during Tuesday’s briefing that the White House does not have any updates on potential nominees at this time.

“We applaud Gigi Son’s candidacy for this important role,” said Jean-Pierre. “She brings tremendous knowledge and experience, which is why the president nominated her in the first place.”

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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