Biden's FCC pick to face another nomination hearing amid questions over her role in controversial non-profit

A new conflict has emerged for nominee Gigi Sohn

First on Fox: Gigi Sohn, President Biden's pick to lead the Federal Communication Commission, will face another round of questioning after the Senate Commerce Committee pulled a vote for her nomination off the schedule for Wednesday, FOX Business has learned.

Sohn's nomination has received significant pushback from Republican lawmakers over her controversial positions, possible conflicts, and questions over her ability to serve without partisan bias as an outspoken progressive overseeing broadcasting in the U.S. 

The Senate panel had planned a vote for Sohn's nomination on Wednesday, but the meeting has now been switched to a confirmation hearing where questioning is likely to focus on the latest details that have emerged about Sohn and her connection to a telecom non-profit, Locast. Sources tell Fox Business the new hearing will take place February 9.

Locast was sued by NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox alleging copyright violations over the non-profit's business model of siphoning and streaming broadcast signals from major media companies and providing the material to people who could not afford cable. The telecom startup did not charge a fee, but asked for a $5 monthly donation from clients.

Gigi Sohn

FILE - Georgetown University Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy fellow Gigi Sohn testifies before the House Judiciary Committee's Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images / Getty Images)


Locast contended that the practice was legal because it was a non-profit, but in September, a judge disagreed and sided with the broadcasters that Sohn would be in charge of regulating if confirmed. Locast was forced to shut down.

The timing and amount of the settlement is raising eyebrows.

Sohn, a Georgetown law professor and expert in telecom law, served as a Locast board member and signed off on the settlement agreement the day after Biden named her his choice to lead the FCC – meaning the broadcast networks were aware that she could soon be their regulator when they cut what appears to be a sweetheart deal with the outfit.

The judge had set the ceiling for what Locast owed the plaintiffs at $32 million in damages, but settlement documents obtained by FOX Business show the non-profit ended up paying a number estimated to be less than $1 million.

Sen Roger Wicker

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing in the Russell Senate Office Building on January 26, 2021, in Washington, DC. . (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images) (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Image / Getty Images)


Since then, Sen. Roger Wicker, the ranking Republican on the committee, has viewed the documents himself. He previously stated, "My initial review of the confidential settlement raises several troubling questions about Ms. Sohn's nomination."

Sohn and a White House spokesman had no comment.