The SenateCommerce Committee plans to vote Wednesday on the nomination of Nathan Simington for the Republican FCC seat being vacated by Michael O'Rielly at year's end, according to a group opposed to his confirmation. If Simington is confirmed by the full Senate, still an open question, the FCC will be at 2-2 when chairman Ajit Pai leaves Jan. 20, putting pressure on the Biden Administration to nominate, vet, and confirm a third Democrat so they have a majority.
One veteran FCC watcher and former top official said they thought Simington would make it on to the commission, but a group opposed to what they see as a Trump Administration attempt to retaliate against Twitter and other social media sites was hoping for a different outcome.
Related: Report Says Simington Reach Out to Fox News on Sec. 230 Petition
"[I]n an unprecedented and deeply cynical move, the Senate has scheduled a confirmation vote this week on Nathan Simington, Trump’s nominee to join the commission," said Even Greer, executive director of Fight for the Future. "Simington’s involvement with Trump’s silly and blatantly unconstitutional executive order targeting Section 230 is alarming," she said.
Simington ones on the National Telecommunications & Information Administration team that drafted a petition to the FCC to regulate social media using their Sec. 230 immunity from liability over the moderation of third party content, though Simington said his role was limited.
"The Senate should reject Simington’s nomination and let the FCC get back to work," said Greer. "If they don’t, they’re not 'owning the libs' or 'sticking it to the Biden admin,' they’re just hurting working families, small businesses, and our children’s future.”
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.