President Biden Continues To Appoint Radical, Scandal-Plagued Nominees To Critical Government Positions

President Biden Has Nominated A Former California Labor Secretary Whose Department Paid Out Tens Of Billions In Fraudulent Payments For The Federal Labor Department And A Radical Left-Wing Activist Who Has Floated Using Regulatory Power To Censor Viewpoints She Disagrees With For The FCC


Julie Su, Biden’s Nominee To Be The New Secretary Of Labor, Presided Over California’s Disastrous Administration Of Unemployment Benefits During The Pandemic, As Over $30 Billion Was Stolen By Scammers, In Part Enabled By Decisions She Made

Julie Su ‘Oversaw The State’s Troubled Employment Development Department,’ Which Disbursed Over $30 Billion In Payments To Fraudsters During The Pandemic: ‘Organized Crime Rings And Prison Inmates Filed Thousands Of Fraudulent Claims For Benefits That EDD Readily Paid’

“President Biden on Tuesday nominated Julie Su to be his next Labor secretary … Before joining Biden’s Labor Department, Su served seven years as secretary of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency. In that role, she oversaw the state’s troubled Employment Development Department, which is responsible for doling out unemployment benefits but struggled to manage a backlog of claims and to combat widespread fraud during the pandemic. The office received at least 26.4 million claims and paid out $180 billion in benefits from the beginning of the shutdown through last spring, and about $30 billion of those payments went to scammers, according to state officials.” (“Julie Su, Who Oversaw California Unemployment Agency Amid Fraud Wave, Nominated U.S. Labor Secretary,” Los Angeles Times, 2/28/2023)

Su Herself Admitted That California Distributed Over $30 Billion To Fraudsters And Scammers: ‘Criminals Took Advantage Of The Situation’

“California Labor Secretary Julie Su’s admission that her department spent up to $31 billion on fraudulent claims for jobless benefits has collided with White House plans to tap her for a key labor post, creating a potential liability for her promotion to the federal stage.” (“California Unemployment Fraud Woes Complicate Su’s DOL Hopes,” Bloomberg Law, 1/26/2021)

California’s State Auditor ‘Issued A Damning Report On The EDD’s Failings,’ With One Part ‘Directed At Su,’ Pointing To Her Decision To Stop Checking Eligibility For UI Benefits

“State Auditor Elaine Howle issued a damning report on the EDD’s failings, while pointing out that they had been evident for many years…. One passage of Howle’s letter was directed at Su. ‘In spring of 2020,’ it said, ‘the secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency directed EDD to pay certain claimants UI benefits without making key eligibility determinations and to temporarily stop collecting biweekly eligibility certifications. Although both directives were designed to provide Californians with benefit payments as quickly as possible, the U.S. Department of Labor has not waived these requirements and, consequently, EDD now faces a very large impending workload of eligibility certifications that threatens its ability to operate effectively.’” (Dan Walters, “California’s Unemployment Insurance Mess Laid Bare,” CalMatters, 1/27/2021)

CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR ELAINE HOWLE: “EDD did not take substantive action to bolster its fraud detection efforts for its UI program until months into the pandemic, resulting in payments [as of January 2021] of about $10.4 billion for claims that it has since determined may be fraudulent because it cannot verify the claimants’ identities. Specifically, EDD waited about four months to automate a key anti-fraud measure, took incomplete action against claims filed from suspicious addresses, and removed a key safeguard against improper payments without fully understanding the significance of the safeguard.” (California State Auditor, “Significant Weaknesses in EDD’s Approach to Fraud Prevention Have Led to Billions of Dollars in Improper Benefit Payments,” Report Number: 2020-628.2, 1/28/2021)

CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR REPORT: “As claims began to surge in March 2020, EDD halted most of its work determining whether claimants were eligible for UI benefits…. [T]he Department of Labor determined that this decision likely compromised the integrity of California's UI program. In September 2020, the Department of Labor learned about EDD's decision to suspend many eligibility determinations. On December 4, 2020, the Department of Labor notified EDD that it believed those actions conflicted with a core tenet of the UI program, namely not paying benefits to ineligible claimants. It noted that without conducting eligibility determinations, EDD could not be certain that individuals are eligible for benefits and instructed EDD to immediately resume all eligibility determinations.” (California State Auditor, “EDD's Poor Planning and Ineffective Management Left It Unprepared to Assist Californians Unemployed by COVID?19 Shutdowns,” Report Number: 2020-128/628.1, 1/26/2021)


Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s Nominee For The Federal Communications Commission, ‘Is A Hardcore Liberal Activist’ Who ‘Has Suggested Using The FCC’s Power Over Broadcast Licenses To Censor Conservative Outlets,’ Evaded Serious Questions From The Commerce Committee, Donated To Democrats While Her Nomination Was Pending, And Supported Progressive Attacks On Police

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Our Democratic colleagues have scheduled yet another hearing for a radical nominee they have already twice failed to get through the Senate. Now the far left is betting the third time will be the charm. But the problem is, Gigi Sohn is no more qualified to be installed on the FCC than she was in 2021 or 2022. … The country needs our FCC commissioners to be thoughtful, sober, nonpartisan referees. Not activists and ideologues who want to bend our airwaves to their agenda. This nominee, Ms. Sohn, has spent her entire career proving she is totally unsuited to this sensitive job. She is a hardcore liberal activist who has literally said the FCC should consider revoking the broadcast licenses of news stations that she disagreed with. That is disqualifying and then some. This is America. We don’t pull journalists and broadcasters off the air because unelected bureaucrats disagree with them. And this only scratches the surface.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/14/2023)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “The latest reappearance of this nomination is a case study in President Biden’s refusal to pivot, moderate, or find common ground. They are tripling down on extremism that even a Democratic Senate has already rejected twice. I urge our colleagues on the Commerce Committee to push for answers. The Senate must say no to a radical activist controlling our airwaves. And the American people should ask why the Biden Administration is this desperate to control what citizens can see, hear, think, and say.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/14/2023)

After Twice Failing To Get Confirmed To The Federal Communications Commission, President Biden Has Nominated Gigi Sohn For A Third Time, Suggesting ‘He Wants A Progressive Activist At The FCC’

Biden has nominated Gigi Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission three times. (PN8, 118th Congress; PN1536, 117th Congress; PN1323, 117th Congress)

“Republicans on Tuesday pushed back against President Biden’s nominee for an open seat on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Gigi Sohn, at her third nomination hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. Sohn has appeared at two prior hearings to fill the long-vacant fifth seat on the FCC, which oversees interstate and international communications and has been deadlocked with just two Democrats and two Republicans as Democrats try to get her confirmed.” (“GOP Senators Push Back At Biden’s FCC Nominee During Third Hearing,” The Hill, 2/14/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “You almost have to admire President Biden’s ideological persistence. His Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn proved too partisan for the last Senate to confirm. Yet he has renominated her … We were told that Ms. Sohn’s political statements made Democratic Senators Catherine Cortez Masto, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly uneasy…. Mr. Biden this year could have nominated a less partisan Democrat. That he didn’t suggests he wants a progressive activist at the FCC.” (Editorial, “Watch Out, Gigi Sohn Is Back,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/12/2023)

Sohn ‘Has Suggested Using The FCC’s Power Over Broadcast Licenses To Censor Conservative Outlets’

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “[Sohn has] also hinted at deploying the agency’s regulatory power to censor conservative media and revive a version of its mooted fairness doctrine. ‘For all my concerns about #Facebook, I believe that Fox News has had the most negative impact on our democracy,’ she tweeted in October 2020. ‘It’s state-sponsored propaganda, with few if any opposing viewpoints.’ Ms. Sohn seems to believe that the state is endorsing conservative speech by allowing cable companies to carry it. She also has suggested using the FCC’s power over broadcast licenses to censor conservative outlets. After Tribune Broadcasting abandoned its merger with the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2018, she declared ‘Today is a good day for every American who believes that diversity of voices in the media is better for our democracy’ and urged the FCC to ‘look at whether Sinclair is qualified to be a broadcast licensee at all.’” (Editorial, “A Media Censor for the FCC?,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/08/2021)

Sohn Wants To Reinstate And Broaden The Obama FCC’s Intrusive And Biased ‘Net Neutrality’ Regulations

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Ms. Sohn founded the leftwing group Public Knowledge that has long sought more government control of the internet and media. She was a counselor to Obama FCC Chair Tom Wheeler and was a driving force behind the ‘net neutrality’ regulation that classified broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934…. The enormous regulatory uncertainty caused broadband investment to decline, though it picked up after the Trump FCC scrapped the rule. Ms. Sohn supports making the Wheeler rule even more burdensome…. Progressives want the government to regulate broadband rates like electricity prices, and Ms. Sohn’s musings suggest she’d be on board.” (Editorial, “A Media Censor for the FCC?,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/08/2021)

Sohn Evaded Senators’ Questions About A Suspiciously-Timed Settlement For Copyright Violations By A Company Whose Board She Sat On

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “Ms. Sohn is as progressive as they come on media and broadband competition. But as troubling is her involvement in Locast, an app that captured and retransmitted local broadcast signals over the internet without broadcasters’ permission. Viewers could stream the content for free, though it accepted donations. Locast exploited a copyright loophole for nonprofits to pirate content. Several broadcasting networks sued, and a federal judge last fall ordered Locast to stop operating. Plaintiffs were awarded $32 million in damages. Ms. Sohn sat on Locast’s three-member board during the litigation.” (Editorial, “Gigi Sohn’s Business Model,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/28/2022)

  • “Ms. Sohn defended Locast during her Senate confirmation hearing [in December 2021]. ‘I thought this was, from a public interest, pro-consumer perspective, I thought this was good,’ she explained, because ‘there were a lot of low-income folks that also used the service.’ In other words, she thinks private intellectual property is a public good. After the hearing Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker followed up with a written question: ‘Where did the money come from for the payment of the $32 million settlement in connection with the Locast case?’ If a company donated the funds, she might have to recuse herself from matters involving the donor. She responded that the ‘settlement funds come from amounts collected to fund [Sports Fan Coalition NY] after SFCNY pays its vendors.’ SFCNY is the name of the nonprofit that operated Locast. This was an odd answer because SFCNY’s IRS 990 form showed only $794,159 in assets and funds at the end of 2020. Where did the other $31 million come from?” (Editorial, “Gigi Sohn’s Business Model,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/28/2022)
  • “Ms. Sohn declined the Senate’s request for a copy of the settlement, and now we know why. Bloomberg Law reported [in January 2022] that the settlement was signed Oct. 27—one day after President Biden nominated her. Locast only agreed to pay $700,000. We’ve independently reviewed a copy of the settlement, which has Ms. Sohn’s signature. In other words, on the day after she was nominated to her powerful regulatory position, broadcasters agreed to a settlement that cut the liability of her nonprofit by 98%. Interesting timing. Why didn’t Ms. Sohn correct Mr. Wicker about the ‘$32 million settlement’? Even if there was nothing improper about the settlement agreement, her lack of candor is a problem. The settlement also creates the appearance of a conflict given her pending power over broadcasters, which she must pledge to avoid in an FCC ethics agreement. … If she prevaricated about the Locast settlement, how can Senators believe her promise to regulate without bias?” (Editorial, “Gigi Sohn’s Business Model,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/28/2022)

Sohn Incredibly Sent Campaign Contributions To Democrat Senators Who Would Be Voting On Her Nomination While It Was Pending Before The Senate

“Senate Democrats are being pressed by a conservative watchdog group to recuse themselves from voting to confirm a Biden nominee who has donated to their campaigns, according to a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner. Gigi Sohn was tapped by President Joe Biden in January to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, a top regulator. But since Sohn has donated to the campaigns for Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), John Fetterman (D-PA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), including when her confirmation was pending, the American Accountability Foundation is calling on the lawmakers to offer their recusals in order to avoid a conflict of interest.” (“Senate Democrats Pressed To Recuse From Vote On Biden Nominee Who Funded Their Campaigns,” Washington Examiner, 2/08/2023)

SEN. TED CRUZ, Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member: “I've been in the Senate ten years. I have never seen a nominee make contributions to senators while your nomination is pending. I've never seen that once… I had my staff search the records. If we could find anyone in the Trump administration who had done that. My staff was unable to find that.” (“Cruz Slams Biden FCC Pick For Donating To Senators During Her Nomination Process: 'I've Never Seen That',” Fox News, 2/14/2023)

The National Fraternal Order Of Police Opposes Sohn’s Nomination Due To ‘Her Anti-Police Bias’ And Connections To A Group That ‘Celebrates’ Traitor Edward Snowden

PATRICK YOES, President of the National Fraternal Order of Police: “I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to once again advise you of our strong opposition to the nomination of Gigi B. Sohn to serve as a Commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Once again, Ms. Sohn will face Members of the Committee and answer questions about her anti-police bias and her refusal to disavow many of the extreme positions of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on law enforcement technology, lawful access to digital evidence, and their lionization of Edward J. Snowden. Our concerns about her views on ‘going dark’ and lawful access have been thoroughly documented in previous letters, which we have included here, but they are extremely concerning and bear repeating. … We are also submitting the FOP’s research into Ms. Sohn’s social media and public policy stances which indicates a deep animus toward law enforcement officers and the rule of law. While she has a Constitutional right to free speech and may express her views freely, she does not have a Constitutional right to be a member of the FCC—in fact, her public record should disqualify her.” (National Fraternal Order of Police, Letter to Sens. Cantwell and Cruz, 2/9/2023)

  • PATRICK YOES: “Further, and with all due respect, how can you reconcile that Ms. Sohn is a board member of the EFF, which celebrates Mr. Snowden, whom they characterize as a ‘whistleblower’ and a patriot.  He is neither of those things, least of all a patriot.  The fact is that Mr. Snowden was entrusted with highly classified intelligence used to protect and defend the United States, and he chose to unlawfully share that data—putting American lives at risk and seriously damaging our national security.  Mr. Snowden has been charged with three Federal felonies—including two counts of violating the Espionage Act.  He is currently a wanted fugitive who is now a citizen of Russia.  As far as we know, she has not distanced herself from those who believe this man to be a hero.  How is her nomination receiving any serious consideration? We believe that a vote to favorably report Ms. Sohn’s nomination next week would show a complete disregard for the hard-working men and women of law enforcement who are simply trying to do their jobs and protect the public. Is this the type of nominee that your constituents want representing them on the Federal Communications Commission? She was unacceptable in the previous Congress and remains unacceptable in the current Congress. … On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I urge all Members of the Committee to reject the nomination Gigi B. Sohn to serve on the Federal Communications Commission.” (National Fraternal Order of Police, Letter to Sens. Cantwell and Cruz, 2/9/2023)



Related Issues: Nominations