(RightWing.org) – Gigi Sohn, who President Biden nominated to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2021, is still awaiting confirmation by the Senate. With Republicans unlikely to back her, she’ll be relying on Democrat votes. The problem is, several of those votes will come from senators Sohn has donated to. They should recuse themselves — but they don’t want to.
— Senate Commerce Republicans (@SenateCommerce) February 14, 2023
On February 14, Sohn appeared in front of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for her third confirmation hearing, and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) put her on the spot over multiple donations she’s made to Democrat senators. Cruz pointed out that Sohn had donated to 12 senators during her confirmation process and said that in ten years, he had never seen a nominee donate to senators while their nomination was being considered. He added that his staff had searched for any example of that happening during the Trump administration and had found none. Then he asked her if she thought it was “poor judgment” to “cut checks to senators who are voting on your nomination.” Sohn said she didn’t.
As Cruz pointed out, the senators Sohn donated to will be able to vote on her nomination, and one — Raphael Warnock (D-GA) actually sits on the Commerce Committee. That creates an obvious conflict of interest, and in the interests of fairness, any senator who accepted a donation from a nominee should recuse themselves from voting on that person’s suitability for a post. The American Accountability Foundation has written to the senators in question, asking them to recuse themselves from Sohn’s confirmation vote; so far, none have said they’ll do this.
Sohn protested to Cruz that the donations she’s made since her nomination were small, totaling just over $1,000. However, as Cruz pointed out, throughout her career, she’s donated a significant amount to Democrats — more than $32,000. Are senators likely to be swayed by the fact that, if they support her nomination, she could make larger donations to them in the future? Of course, we’d all like to think not, but we can’t be sure.
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