The outcome of the Georgia Senate election could determine the fate of Gigi Sohn’s prospects to become a Federal Communications Commission member. She is a controversial nominee who supports restoring internet neutrality rules.
Insiders say Sohn — a progressive activist who has been met with suspicion by Republicans for supporting “defunding the police” movements, and having co-founded an advocacy group funded from billionaire George Soros – is more likely than her nomination to be approved if Rafael Warnock (Democrat) wins the Tuesday race for Georgia’s US Senate seat. Sohn’s candidacy might not be up for a vote if Herschel Walk wins the runoff.
If Warnock wins, Democrats will have a 51-to-50 Senate majority. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin remains opposed to nominee Gigi Son. Sources said that the Republicans will not be able to stop the nomination because she would win in a tie.
Biden must have a nomination vote this month. Biden would then have to nominate Sohn again, and she would need go through the whole nomination process including Senate hearings. Sources say that this is unlikely.
Biden , who in October 2021 announced his intention of nominating Sohn, could easily nominate another candidate. Rumours say that Stacey Abrams could be the candidate who lost the Georgia governor’s race.
There are currently four FCC commissioners, two Democrats and two Republicans. This gives Democrats limited power.
Sohn was a Georgetown law professor who helped create net neutralityrules during the Obama years. These rules were supported by many Silicon Valley tech titans, including Amazon and Netflix.
Sohn would be expected help restore net neutrality after Trump’s rollback. This would prevent internet providers (often owned by cable companies) from discriminating towards rival streaming companies.
Comcast is believed to be a major opponent of Sohn’s nomination.
The Post reports that Sohn was a directorat Locast. Locast provided free access for broadcast stations like ABC, CBS and Fox. It also accepted donations. Locast lost a lawsuit and was forced to settle with the major networks for less than $32million.
Locast claims that Locast made a sweetheart deal with Locast on the settlement payment after it became apparent Sohn was being nominated as an FCC Commissioner. Locast then agreed to a final amount of $1 million.
Sohn was a Locast director but not part of settlement talks, The Post reported.
A number of groups including Public Knowledge, Common Cause wrote an letter Oct. 14 to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.Ky.) asking that they bring her nomination up for a vote.
The letter said that her work with Congress members and industry in creating programs to support low-income Americans, including those who live in rural or tribal lands, was an example of her willingness to work with all parties to find commonsense solutions.