Reactions to the Withdrawal of Gigi Sohn's Nomination to the FCC

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “We appreciate Gigi Sohn’s candidacy for this important role.  She would have brought tremendous—intellect and experience, which is why the President nominated her in the first place. We also appreciate her dedication to public service, her talent, and her years of work as one of the nation’s leading public advocates on behalf of American consumers and competition.”

“While I am disappointed, I respect Gigi Sohn’s decision to withdraw her nomination as an FCC Commissioner," said Sen Maria Cantwell (D-WA). "Throughout the past 16 months, Ms. Sohn has demonstrated her expertise in telecommunications law, deep experience and commitment to ensuring that every American has access to affordable broadband regardless of where they live. More importantly, I commend her for the integrity and fortitude she displayed in the face of a coordinated, hate-fueled campaign to malign and distort her character and record. I thank Ms. Sohn for her willingness to serve and her continued efforts to bridge the digital divide in America.”

“The withdrawal of Ms. Sohn’s nomination is a major victory and represents a strong bipartisan agreement that we need a fair and impartial candidate who can receive the support needed for confirmation," said Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX). "The FCC is not a place for partisan activists; free speech is too important. Now, it’s time for the Biden administration to put forth a nominee who can be confirmed by the full Senate and is committed to serving as an even-handed and truly independent regulator.”

“Gigi Sohn has been a tireless advocate and is a well-recognized expert in telecommunications policy," said Public Knowledge President and CEO Chris Lewis. "To not be able to find a path forward for her to serve at the [Federal Communications Commission] is a great loss. But, as disappointed as we are, the American public should be outraged. The hard work of the Commission to prevent digital discrimination, to curb media consolidation, and to reinstate the FCC as the agency with authority over broadband is lost by this failure. And that is what this is: a failure by elected leaders in both parties to prioritize these important public interest protections. The incessant and appalling personal attacks against Ms. Sohn, the outright lies about her character, and the deceptive tactics used to bully her will have ripple effects for both the public and any other nominees the Biden administration may want to serve in their government. This sets a dangerous precedent.”

"After years of waiting in limbo, Gigi Sohn won’t make it to the FCC — and that’s a huge loss for the country," said Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron. "They’re probably celebrating at Comcast and Fox today, and their lobbyists deserve most of the credit for concocting lies to derail her nomination. Republicans who willfully spread those lies must be thrilled, too. But they’re not the only ones to blame: The failure of Democratic leaders to stand up to industry-orchestrated smears cost the agency — and the nation — a true public servant. There will be temptation in the weeks ahead to put forward an industry-friendly nominee to avoid a larger political fight. That’s how the agency has worked in the past. But the public — now more than ever — needs an independent voice at this crucial agency, one who won’t cave to the industries they are supposed to regulate. Though Gigi Sohn deserved much, much better, we can only hope this moment will finally serve as a wake-up call to the Biden administration and the Democratic Party.”

"The withdrawal of Gigi Sohn’s nomination to serve as commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, after 16 months of baseless attacks, is a huge loss for our civil and human rights coalition and the communities we represent," said the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "A champion of the issues we care about so deeply and the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to be nominated to the FCC, Gigi Sohn was an exemplary, history-making nominee for this position and should have been swiftly confirmed. At a time when access to reliable, diverse news and information, as well as affordable broadband and communications, is more critical than ever, the gridlock that the FCC has endured for more than two years is inexcusable. We urge the Biden administration to immediately nominate and the Senate to confirm another individual who can ensure the FCC carries out a pro-civil rights agenda — one that includes universal broadband access, strong rules addressing digital discrimination, and more — that can help make the promise of advanced communications a reality for more people in the United States.”

"The Rural Wireless Association is extremely disappointed to see Gigi Sohn withdraw her nomination to serve as an FCC Commissioner. RWA has continued to express its support for Ms. Sohn’s nomination due to her strong advocacy for rural consumers and commitment to closing the digital divide in addition to her vast experience and qualifications that would have made her an exceptional FCC Commissioner – one that truly serves the public interest. Ms. Sohn has repeatedly received baseless attacks on her character and career fueled by dark money political groups that serve the individual interests of powerful cable advocates.  While these powerful dark money political groups gain a victory, the American people and specifically rural consumers will suffer the consequences."

“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," said Michael Copps, Common Cause Special Adviser and Former FCC Commissioner. "A win for big-spending special interests, to be sure, but a tragic loss for the common good...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.”

“Let’s be perfectly clear: Democrats promised to restore net neutrality and FCC oversight of telecom monopolies, and instead they caved to corporate interests and homophobic smears,” said Evan Greer, director of Fight for the Future. “The same telecom companies that were caught red handed funding a flood of fraudulent comments to the FCC and paying for misleading robocalls to senior citizens to kill net neutrality rules now will seemingly get to pick their own regulator, just as they did with Ajit Pai. Democrats’ failure to stand up to the telecom industry and condemn the homophobic smears targeting Sohn will have devastating effects for human rights, free expression, and public safety,” he added. “Even if the White House names a new nominee, there may not be enough time for the FCC to move forward with key priorities like restoring net neutrality and broadband privacy rules. By allowing Sohn’s nomination to be undermined by disingenuous attacks and refusing to condemn them, the Biden administration and Senate Democrats have set a terrible precedent for future public interest nominees and LGBTQ nominees." 

Reactions to the Withdrawal of Gigi Sohn's Nomination to the FCC Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (White House) Consumer Champion Gigi Sohn Withdraws FCC Nomination (Public Knowledge) Failure to Stand Up to Industry-Orchestrated Smears Cost FCC and the Nation a True Public Servant (Free Press) Sen. Cruz Issues Statement On Gigi Sohn Withdrawing Her Nomination (US Senate) Sen. Cantwell Statement on Gigi Sohn’s Decision to Withdraw Her Nomination to the FCC Commission (US Senate) Sohn Withdrawal Is Setback for Civil Rights (Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights) Public Interest Champion Gigi Sohn Withdraws Nomination to FCC (Common Cause) Democrats cave to corporate smear campaign against Gigi Sohn, putting net neutrality, privacy, and abortion rights at risk