Sohn, a former FCC official and longtime public interest advocate, was nominated as a third Democratic commissioner by President Joe Biden in October 2021. But over the last 16 months, a brutal and oftentimes bad-faith lobbying campaign has continued to block her nomination. That’s left the FCC with a 2–2 partisan split that has blocked many of Biden’s goals for the agency, including reinstating net neutrality rules.
“It is a sad day for our country and our democracy”
“I could not have imagined that legions of cable and media industry lobbyists, their bought-and-paid-for surrogates, and dark money political groups with bottomless pockets would distort my over 30-year history as a consumer advocate into an absurd caricature of blatant lies,” Sohn said in a statement to The Verge on Tuesday. “The unrelenting, dishonest and cruel attacks on my character and my career as an advocate for the public interest have taken an enormous toll on me and my family.”
Sohn’s decision to drop out of consideration comes less than a month after the Senate Commerce Committee held a third confirmation hearing debating her nomination. Throughout the hearing, Republicans echoed many of the same attacks volleyed by Sohn’s critics, calling her an “extremist” and a threat to free speech.
“It is a sad day for our country and our democracy when dominant industries, with assistance from unlimited dark money, get to choose their regulators,” Sohn said. “And with the help of their friends in the Senate, the powerful cable and media companies have done just that.”