Big Tech-funded lobbyists and D.C. insiders are expressing alarm that President Donald Trump is set to nominate an FCC commissioner, Nathan Simington, who isn’t one of them.
“There’s this informal rule that the nominees come from someone on the Hill — or at least it’s someone that somebody on the Hill wants to see there. That certainly appears not to be the case here,” Scott Wallsten, president of the Technology Policy Institute, told Law360.
“It’s sort of not surprising to see that Trump wouldn’t follow the conventional approach because he doesn’t on anything.”
The Technology Policy Institute is funded by virtually every major Big Tech company — its list of donors includes Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft.
According to an insider who spoke to Law360, Simington is completely unknown to career bureaucrats, and that’s making D.C. swamp creatures nervous:
Simington is a little-known name within the NTIA, the U.S. Department of Commerce‘s spectrum regulatory body, and has only been in the role of senior adviser since June. Before moving to the government sector, he worked at mobile company Brightstar Corp. as senior counsel. A longtime industry observer told Law360 that when they received a text from a former colleague about Simington’s forthcoming nomination, they initially thought it was a joke. “I said, ‘We don’t know him, and we know everybody,'” the person told Law360.
John B. Morris Jr., a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said President Trump’s decision to withdraw the re-nomination of Michael O’Rielly, an Obama-appointed FCC commissioner, and nominate Simington instead, is “unusual.”
Brookings is funded by Amazon, Comcast, Facebook, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
It now falls to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, to bring forward Trump’s FCC nomination.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), a member of the Committee and Senate Majority Whip, said the Committee should move “as soon as possible” to confirm Simington.
However, if allies of Big Tech in the Senate wished to block the Simington confirmation, they could slow-walk the process until the November election.
If Biden wins the election, he would likely renominate O’Rielly, who has expressed skepticism about President Trump’s executive order on social media censorship, and is not seen as a threat to Big Tech.
If Simington isn’t confirmed by early January, a second-term Trump would need to renominate him.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. His upcoming book, #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election, which contains exclusive interviews with sources inside Google, Facebook, and other tech companies, will be released on September 22 and is currently available for preorder.