The first woman to serve as Chair of the FCC, even if in an interim role, has resurfaced as one of four individuals that could have a significant influence on the Commission under the incoming Biden administration.
The FCC’s agency review team, traditionally created by an incoming president to help reshape the agency, became known on Monday. And, it includes “self employed” Mignon Clyburn.
Of course, Clyburn served as Acting FCC Chairwoman from May 20, 2013 through November 4, 2013. Sworn in for her first term as commissioner on August 3, 2009, Clyburn was sworn in for a second term on February 19, 2013 and served until June 6, 2018.
While at the FCC, Clyburn was committed to closing the digital divide. Further, she championed diversity in media ownership and fought to preserve “a free and open internet.”
As such, the return of “net neutrality,” however the next Commission seeks to regulate it, is certainly in the cards.
Clyburn is the daughter of Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House Majority Whip in the lower body of Congress. He played a pivotal role in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by endorsing Joe Biden three days before the South Carolina primary, which Biden won.
Mignon Clyburn would not be team lead, however, as that role is going to John Williams, a senior counsel and parliamentarian for the House Judiciary Committee. He has been in the role for one year and, prior to that, served as a Senior Counselor and Senior Agency Official for Privacy in the FCC’s Office of the General Counsel.
The others named to the Biden FCC transition team are DLA Piper Deputy Managing Partner Edward “Smitty” Smith, and Paul de Sa, a partner with Quadra Partners, a telecommunications consulting firm. Previously, de Sa served as head of the FCC Office of Strategic Plans and Policy Analysis. In that role de Sa participated in writing the U.S. National Broadband Plan.
Mignon Clyburn’s name has emerged as a leading choice as the successor to Ajit Pai, with Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel also rumored to be a top choice for the job.
Meanwhile, the fate of Nathan Simington hangs in the balance, with his nomination to a Republican FCC seat pending. While Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal had threatened to put a hold on Simington’s nomination, that has not yet occurred.