Padden Urges Senate to Confirm Sohn
Former TV broadcast industry lobbyist Preston Padden urged the Senate today to confirm Gigi Sohn as an FCC Commissioner, calling her “one of the most prepared and experienced nominees in the history of the FCC.”
“Many of my friends who represent established companies and their trade associations are trying to throw sand in the gears of Ms. Sohn’s confirmation. These are good and honorable people just doing their job as I did for decades. But the question before the Committee is not whether established industry companies agree with Ms. Sohn’s views. The question is whether she is qualified. The answer to that is an unequivocal ‘yes,’” Mr. Padden said in a letter to Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) and ranking member Roger Wicker (R., Miss.).
“Ms. Sohn is one of the most prepared and experienced nominees in the history of the FCC. I have worked with, and against, her for more than 30 years. She knows the issues in front of the FCC better than almost anyone I know,” Mr. Padden added. “Ms. Sohn has been a particularly effective advocate for competition and new market entrants.”
“I would like to mention two specific issues that have been raised regarding Ms. Sohn’s nomination—Net Neutrality and Locast. Personally, I oppose Net Neutrality. I think the absence of any harm since the rules were repealed demonstrates that those rules were not necessary. But a Democrat FCC majority is almost certain to reimpose those rules regardless of the name of the third Democrat Commissioner. Therefore, the issue of Net Neutrality is not relevant to Ms. Sohn’s confirmation. The real answer to Net Neutrality is for this Committee to lead the Congress in finding a compromise statutory solution that will end the ‘ping-pong’ between Democrat and Republication FCC’s,” Mr. Padden argued.
“Regarding Locast, I am a copyright hardliner who agrees with the plaintiffs in the Locast case. But these are legitimate questions of copyright law about which reasonable people can, and do, disagree. Locast was the first company to test the nonprofit exemption to copyright law,” Mr. Padden said. He added that years ago, “highly respected entertainment and Internet entrepreneur Barry Diller backed a company called Aereo that launched a for-profit business nearly identical to Locast that also tested the bounds of the law. The resulting copyright litigation went all the way to the Supreme Court. My point simply is that being associated with Locast no more disqualifies Ms. Sohn from being confirmed for the FCC than being associated with Aereo would disqualify Mr. Diller.”
The Senate Commerce Committee last week removed Ms. Sohn’s nomination from the agenda for an executive session in the wake of an announcement that Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D., N.M.) was hospitalized after a stroke. It scheduled a second hearing on the nomination for Wednesday (TR Daily, Feb. 2). —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org