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WASHINGTON — On Friday, nearly 250 groups sent a letter to Senate leadership urging the speedy confirmation of Gigi Sohn as the fifth commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, which has been deadlocked 2–2 since January 2021. 

“We represent a wide cross section of businesses, consumer advocates, civil rights organizations, education sector, state and local elected officials, and community groups urging you to bring to the floor the confirmation vote of Gigi Sohn for the FCC before Congress adjourns,” reads the letter, which was signed by Free Press Action.

Sohn, who has more than 30 years of experience championing the public interest in communications policy, has faced a phalanx of opposition from powerful media and telecommunications firms seeking to deadlock the FCC and prevent Democrats from having a majority vote on a number of critical issues. Her confirmation has been pending for nearly a year, facing strong headwinds from industry lobbyists, conservative media conglomerates and partisan operatives. 

According to a Friday Washington Post report, Comcast paid former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle $30,000 to lobby against Sohn’s nomination, among other issues. It also paid a state lawmaker with ties to Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and a former aide to Sen. Joe Manchin to lobby on the company’s behalf. AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Verizon, which frequently oppose Sohn’s policy positions, have so far in 2022 spent more than $23 million to lobby Washington.

Free Press Action Policy Director Joshua Stager said:

“Don't be fooled by the latest Comcast-funded talking points. The companies lobbying against Gigi Sohn are simply trying to do one thing: keep the FCC deadlocked for as long as possible. Sohn is an exceptionally qualified nominee and it’s well past time to confirm her. We need a fully functioning FCC.

“The hundreds of groups demanding Sohn’s confirmation know that she’s the decisive vote we need to close the digital divide, lower the cost of broadband, and hold companies like Comcast and AT&T accountable. Sohn is a dedicated public servant who won’t cater to industry — which is why some of the nation’s biggest phone and cable companies are spending tens of millions of dollars to lobby against her nomination.

“It’s outrageous that such underhanded tactics have kept people without the policies and protections they need to connect and communicate. Sohn has a well-earned reputation for bipartisanship and consensus-building, which is why she has been endorsed by such a wide array of people and organizations from across the political spectrum. What’s more, her confirmation would break barriers for the LGBTQIA+ community, helping the federal government better reflect the people it serves. Senate Majority Leader Schumer needs to call a vote on Sohn’s confirmation as soon as possible.”

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