Mignon Clyburn, hailed as the “conscience” of the FCC, resigns
Democrat Mignon Clyburn is resigning from the FCC rather than seeking a new five year term, according to a report from Ars Techinca. Serving from 2009-2016, Clyburn consistently voted in favor of measures that protected consumers against the objection of internet service providers. Additionally, Clyburn has been on the losing end of several major decisions by the Republican controlled FCC that has seen the entity vote in the interest of internet service providers and far right wing media conglomerates such as Sinclair Broadcasting.
Former FCC official and consumer advocate Gigi Sohn, praised Clyburn after the news, stating, “Mignon Clyburn will go down in history as one of the best FCC commissioners of all time… For nearly nine years, she has been a vocal and passionate advocate for the public interest and defender of the most vulnerable in our society.”
The admiration of Mignon even seems to cross the aisle. Ajit Pai, the current Chairman of the FCC and Trump puppet spoke glowingly of Clyburn and her tenure with the FCC, telling Ars Technica, “She has been a tremendous leader and a committed public servant throughout her time here.. As the first woman to head the agency, she led skillfully through a transition and put her stamp on the commission, including through her steadfast leadership in tele-health, media diversity, and digital inclusion.”
Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts said, “Mignon is a voice for the voiceless, always defending the most vulnerable in our society to ensure they are protected against the special interests… Her commitment to defending net neutrality, protecting the Lifeline program, lowering prison phone rates, and so many other critical consumer-protection programs has benefited millions of American families.”
Clyburn’s departure means that currently Democrats only have one representative on the FCC board, and that is Jessica Rosenworcel. Traditionally, the party of the president has maintained a one vote advantage, so if the conventional practice is followed, this means that the President will nominate a Democrat to fill Mignon Clyburn’s open seat. I would not hold my breath, even though Chuck Schumer has recommended Geoffrey Starks, an assistant chief in the FCC’s enforcement bureau.