Policymakers

Profiles of the people who make or influence communications policy.

Make Room at the Table

As the work of connecting everyone through broadband moves from the federal to the state level, the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Broadband Access Initiative has now emerged as one of the central catalysts accelerating promising state efforts. Pew has been partnering with state governments for years to implement evidence-based solutions but is now taking it to a whole new level to deliver even more broadband progress thanks to the foresight and leadership of Kathryn de Wit.

Don't Let the Smear Machine Stop the Gears of a Fully Functional FCC

The New Yorker recently published a piece about the work of the American Accountability Foundation (A.A.F.) — a dark-money group aiming to sabotage the Biden administration’s agenda by torpedoing the confirmation of nominees to fill critical roles across the government. The group brags about having stopped the confirmation of nominees like Saule Omarova, Biden’s pick to be comptroller of the currency, and Sarah Bloom Raskin, who the pr

FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Gets Pushback from Some Former Hill Democrats

Some former Democratic members of Congress have joined what is increasingly a concerted effort to block the nomination of Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow & Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society], President Joe Biden‘s nominee to the open Democratic seat on the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC presently stands at a 2-2 political tie, as it has been since before Biden took office.

FCC Commissioner Carr Welcomes Michael Nemcik as Acting Legal Advisor

Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr announced that Michael Nemcik has joined his office as Acting Legal Advisor, having previously served the office as an intern in 2019. Michael will be standing in for Danielle Thumann, Commissioner Carr’s Legal Advisor since March 2021, while she is on maternity leave. Michael joins Commissioner Carr’s office from the Wireline Competition Bureau’s Competition Policy Division where he focuses on various robocall mitigation and numbering issues.

The Slime Machine Targeting Dozens of Biden Nominees

The campaign against Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to serve on the Supreme Court was spearheaded by a new conservative dark-money group that was created in 2020: the American Accountability Foundation (AAF). An explicit purpose of the AAF—a politically active, tax-exempt nonprofit charity that doesn’t disclose its backers—is to prevent the approval of all Biden Administration nominees. The AAF’s approach represents a new escalation in partisan warfare, and underscores the growing role that secret spending has played in deepening the polarization in Washington.

Midterm politics endanger Biden’s tech agenda

Midterm politics are endangering a key Biden nominee who would give Democrats a majority at the Federal Communications Commission — jeopardizing the administration’s push to restore net neutrality and other tech regulations rolled back in the Trump era. A coalition of Republicans, moderate Democrats and telecom industry allies are ratcheting up pressure on potential swing Democrats to oppose FCC nominee Gigi Sohn, including by calling the progressive consumer advocate an “anti-police radical” and accusing her of being biased against rural America.

Oregon Seeks Nominees for Broadband Advisory Council

With passage of a new state law (HB 4092), Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, is seeking applications to fill 11 Oregon Broadband Advisory Council (OBAC) volunteer positions. These positions are executive appointments by the Governor. Applications are being accepted for the following positions: 

Tech Associations Urge Senate to Confirm Gigi Sohn to the FCC

Seven technology industry associations sent a joint letter to the Senate majority and minority leaders urging the Senate to confirm Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] as the fifth Federal Communications Commissioner. Associations signing the letter included service provider groups INCOMPAS and NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, as well as the Consumer Technology Association, Chamber of Progress, CompTIA, Computer & Communications Industry Association, and Internet Infrastructure Coalition.

Remarks from Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen on Digital Assets

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen delivered remarks on digital assets policy, innovation, and regulation at American University's (DC) Kogod School of Business Center for Innovation. "A few weeks ago, President Biden signed an Executive Order calling for a coordinated and comprehensive government approach to digital asset policy," Yellen said. "Digital assets have grown explosively, reaching a market cap of $3 trillion last November from $14 billion just five years prior.

FCC Commissioner Starks Announces Staff Changes

Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks announced the following staff changes: