Democrats Got Donations From Biden Nominee, But Won’t Recuse Themselves

( Some Democratic senators are at the center of a potential controversy that they are perpetuating rather than shooting down.

Some senators received political contributions from Gigi Sohn. That’s not an issue, except for the fact that she’s now officially been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve on the Federal Communications Commission. This creates a possible conflict of interest for the senators who received financial support from Sohn and would now have a say in her confirmation.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas questioned Sohn directly about whether she believed it was appropriate for her to send political donations to the Democratic senators once her nomination for the FCC was pending. Cruz is the ranking member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the Senate.

Cruz pointed out that Sohn made donations of more than $1,000 to senators, and some of them have even been critical of her being nominated to the FCC. As such, he asked her:

“Do you believe it was poor judgment to give 12 separate political contributions to Democratic senators while your nomination was pending?”

Her reply:

“I’m a citizen who just wanted to participate in the democratic process. Relatively small donations. No, I don’t [think they were inappropriate].”

Cruz didn’t relent, though, saying:

“I’ve been in the Senate 10 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.”

Those who received donations from Sohn included Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock, who’s a member of the Commerce Committee, which is the panel in the Senate that’s considering her nomination. Others include Michael Bennet from Colorado, John Fetterman from Pennsylvania and Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada.

Outside groups have also taken notice of the situation, and have called for the senators to recuse themselves when her nomination officially comes up for a vote.

Thomas Jones, who is the president of the American Accountability Foundation, wrote a letter to the four senators last week that read:

“Ms. Sohn’s donations to your campaigns and your acceptance of her contributions during the pendency of her confirmation have irrevocably corrupted the decision-making process and made an objective vote on her confirmation impossible.

“As the Senate Ethics Manual rightly points out. The public has a right to expect Members, officers, and employees to exercise impartial judgment in performing their duties. The receipt of gifts, entertainment, or favors from certain persons or interests may interfere with this impartial  judgment, or may create an appearance of impropriety that may undermine the public’s faith in government.’”

Sohn has contributed to other members of the Democratic Party, including Biden, to whom she sent $2,900 to for his presidential campaign in 2020.