On March 7, 2023, Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s nominee to the Federal Communications Commission, withdrew following a bitter 16-month lobbying battle which blocked her Senate confirmation. Ms. Sohn was first nominated on October 26, 2021, but failed to receive a confirmation vote in the Senate. The White House renominated Sohn on January 3, 2023.
From 2013 to 2016, Gigi Sohn served as counselor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and from 2001 to 2013 was co-founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, a communications and technology policy advocacy organization. She currently serves as a Distinguished Fellow at Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy as well as at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.
Her confirmation faced biting criticism from Senate Republicans who contended that her past social media posts showed a liberal bent that made Sohn unsuited to be a commissioner. Shortly before Sohn announced her decision to withdraw, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) dealt a critical blow to her confirmation, announcing he would vote against her, accusing her of holding “partisan alliances with far-left groups.”
The withdrawal leaves the FCC in a continuing 2-2 deadlock and leaves FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel without a Democratic majority at the Commission. Speculation has begun on whom President Biden may nominate to fill the fifth vacant FCC commissioner seat.