Today the Senate Commerce Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for Nathan Simington, the telecom lawyer that the outgoing Trump administration has nominated to become a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Simington would be filling the vacancy left after Trump abruptly fired commissioner Michael O’Reilly after he spoke out against the administration’s blatantly unconstitutional executive order that would blow up Section 230 and essentially turn the FCC into online speech police. Simington had a direct hand in drafting the proposal, but otherwise has almost no relevant experience for the position.
Digital rights group Fight for the Future, known for organizing the largest online protests in history to defend net neutrality and oppose online censorship, has launched a call-in campaign to drive phone calls to key Senators demanding they oppose Simington’s confirmation.
The group issued the following statement, which can be attributed to Deputy Director, Evan Greer (she/her):
This guy is even worse than Ajit Pai. His only qualifications are his steadfast loyalty to an outgoing wannabe tyrant and his undying love for convoluted attacks on Internet freedom. Simington literally helped write the Trump administration’s deeply silly proposal to blow up Section 230 and put the FCC in charge of policing online speech. And he’s being supported by the same companies that spent mountains of money lobbying to gut net neutrality.
We are in the middle of a crushing pandemic where hundreds of millions of people are at the mercy of their Internet Service Providers while they work from home and send their kids to school online. It’s unthinkable that in this moment, especially in light of the election results, that the Senate would confirm an unqualified crony to the agency that is supposed to provide basic oversight.
The Senate should reject Simington’s nomination post haste. Ajit Pai should step down and fade into obscurity as a cautionary Internet meme. And the Biden/Harris administration should act quickly to appoint a new chair of the FCC who will restore net neutrality, defend the First Amendment, and fight for Internet access, freedom, and privacy for all.
Fight for the Future and other digital rights groups will be driving calls to key Senators from https://www.battleforthenet.com/call starting today until the Senate votes on Simington’s nomination, if they ever do.