Sen Wicker pushes for second hearing on FCC nominee Gigi Sohn

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Senate Commerce’s top Republican, Sen Roger Wicker (R-MS), is calling for a new hearing on Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society]. He wants to dig into ethics questions after obtaining and reviewing the terms of the confidential $32 million settlement that broadcasters struck with shuttered TV streaming service Locast in 2021 (Sohn was on the board of the Sports Fan Coalition nonprofit, which ran Locast). “The possibility of the nominee’s future financial liability to a number of companies regulated by the FCC, and the timing of this settlement in relation to her nomination, demands a full discussion by the committee to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the ability for this nominee to act without any cloud of ethical doubt,” Wicker said. The White House has dismissed such doubts as meritless. According to a lawyer for the Sports Fan Coalition, federal ethics officials already reviewed the document and it’s unclear how it would trigger additional recusal requirements. Greg Guice, who directs government affairs for advocacy group Public Knowledge (which Sohn co-founded), blasted Wicker’s statement as a delay tactic aimed at postponing the formation of a Democratic FCC majority. He argued that Wicker could have sought a copy of the settlement from litigants weeks earlier. Senate Commerce Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) hopes to hold a committee vote on Sohn’s nomination at the end of January.

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