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Tipsheet

FCC Nominee Wants Senators To Think She's Unbiased, But Her Retweets Say Otherwise

During today's Senate Commerce Committee hearing for Gigi Sohn, President Joe Biden's nominee for the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), Sohn and Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan (AK) got into a telling exchange about some of Sohn's problematic retweets. 

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Sen. Sullivan began his remarks by stating he was "very disturbed," by some of Sohn's tweets and retweets, some of which she claimed to not have knowledge of since she's "probably retweeted over 10,000 times."

One retweet mentioned, "Your raggedy white supremacist president and his cowardly enablers would rather kill everybody than stop killing black people." 

Sullivan read the retweet aloud, commenting "damn, that's way out there."

"I mean, you think most Republicans are racists and white supremacists?" he asked Sohn.

"Absolutely not, Senator Sullivan," Sohn responded in a dismissive tone. 

Before Sullivan could finish reminding her that "that's not what your retweet" indicates, she added that she was "not familiar with that tweet but will look at it."

 Sullivan then asked "do you remember retweeting that one?" 

Sohn responded she did not. 

"I probably retweeted over 10,000 times, so I don't remember," Sohn offered.

"Look, I think the average American, whether you're Republican or Democrat, is tired of this," Sullivan said, going on to make a larger point about the issue with nominees. "Right? The number of Biden nominees who come out here and have tweeted about Republicans being white supremacists and racists, it seems like that's how you get nominated in this administration. You're one of them, we've had a bunch here. People are just tired of it."

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Though Sullivan did not mention her by name, he was possibly speaking of Neera Tanden, who withdrew as the nominee to head the Office of Budget and Management (OMB), after it was clear she would not have the votes to be confirmed. Many senators, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), took issue with her divisive tweets.

Sullivan also mentioned Saule Omarova, who last December withdrew from consideration to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Concerns abounded, from both sides of the aisle, as Sullivan mentioned, in large part to do with her communist views and her plans in mind that would radically change the American banking system. 

"I raised issue with the comptroller of the currency, she was, socialist views, a lot of Republicans had issues with her, Democrats too. They pulled her nom. You know what she said when asked about Republican criticism of her views? Quote, they’re racist. People are just tired of this," Sullivan stressed.

The senator used the example of Omarova’s pulled nomination to once more ask Sohn her views on Republicans. "Do you have a view on that? Do you think all Republicans are racists?"

"Absolutely not," Sohn said, going on to share she had praised Republicans on and off line, in press releases, and that she had awarded Republicans when working in the private sector. 

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Sohn was also drawing attention for exchanges with senators to do with Fox News, including Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Ted Cruz (R-TX). 

Sohn had tweeted that "I believe that Fox News has had the most negative impact on our democracy. It's state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints."

As Sen. Thune pointed out, "I mean, these are not like, positions, these are attacks, and you're going to be a referee."

Sen. Thune also asked "how are you going to be impartial," with Sohn's response in part offering they were said as "a public advocate and a private citizen, and has no bearing on any proceeding that Fox News would be involved in." While she did say that she wishes "her tone was a little less sharp," that tweet from Sohn's account remains. 

Sen. Cruz referenced he had "significant concerns" with Sohn's record, as she had "demonstrated a hostility to conservative speech in particular, to Fox News in particular." He went on to warn that "the FCC is a very dangerous place for a regulator to have the authority to silence political views with which you disagree."

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In her opening testimony, Sohn claimed that she had been "subject to unrelenting, unfair and outright false criticism and scrutiny," starting off by portraying herself as a victim. 

If Sohn is confirmed, Democrats will have a majority on the FCC, which describes regulates interstate and international communications, including through television.  

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