Gigi Sohn is another of President Joe Biden’s picks that has come under increasing scrutiny from all angles, so much so that she has sent an unprecedented recusal deal to the Federal Communications Commission Ethics Office. Already extreme nominees like Neera Tanden and Saule Omarova have been defeated over a history of hyper-partisan combative tweets attacking republicans by the former, and unabashed Marxism by the later. Sohn’s nomination is no different, and West Virginians have taken a particular interest in stopping the nomination.
In the Herald-Dispatch, West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Kent Leonhardt asks Senator Joe Manchin to hold the line against radical nominees from President Biden and to hold the administration to a higher standard for federal nominations.
West Virginians will be counting on the FCC to do an accurate job of judging unserved areas when it comes to deploying the billions of dollars in funding for broadband expansion. But Public Knowledge, the organization of which Sohn was President and Co-Founder, has supported policies that are not technology neutral and would lead to over building, meaning areas that are already served get more choices and the difficult to reach unserved areas continue to go without service.
She has otherwise been a huge proponent of municipal broadband. Government run broadband far more often than not, leaves taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars without better or more service than is often available by private providers. While serving as an Advisor to then FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, she stewarded a ruling that would have prevented states from passing laws against municipalities building these kinds of networks. These state laws serve as a protection to taxpayers against frivolous, often corrupt crony spending of taxpayer dollars. Thankfully, the rulemaking was quickly overturned in court, but that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t resurrect such an idea.
To further express concerns, Former speaker Pro Tempore of the West Virginia House of Delegates, John Overington, joined a letter with a coalition of center-right organizations to oppose Sohn’s nomination based on her likelihood of imposing policies that would crush innovation, silence conservative speech, and eviscerate intellectual property protections
Furthermore, Leonhardt points out in his opinion piece that: “The FCC should be an independent, unbiased government agency that works to help Americans access the resources to communicate with each other, no matter their political, cultural, or social backgrounds. The possibility of a figure as polarizing and dubious as Gigi Sohn, directly undermines the FCC’s ability to insulate itself from political bickering and do its jobs across the country and particularly in West Virginia.”
Gigi Sohn’s confirmation to the FCC would not help West Virginians on the issues they care about the most.