Mignon Letitia Clyburn (born March 22, 1962) is an American former government official who served as a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2009 to 2018.

Mignon Clyburn
Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission
In office
August 3, 2009 – June 6, 2018
PresidentBarack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byDeborah Tate
Succeeded byGeoffrey Starks
Personal details
Mignon Letitia Clyburn

(1962-03-22) March 22, 1962 (age 62)
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
RelationsJennifer Clyburn Reed
Angela Clyburn (sisters)
Parent(s)Jim Clyburn (father)
Emily England Clyburn (mother)
EducationUniversity of South Carolina (BS)

In December 2017, Clyburn and fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel notably voted against rescinding the FCC's 2015 Open Internet Order, better known as net neutrality; the measure passed in a 3-2 party line vote to remove net neutrality protections.[1][2] In April 2018, Clyburn announced that she would step down from her position as commissioner and served until June 6, 2018.[3][4]

Clyburn is the daughter of U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn.[5] In 2019, Clyburn was hired by T-Mobile to advise the company on its merger with Sprint.[6]

Early life and education


Mignon Letitia Clyburn was born to Jim Clyburn and Emily Clyburn in Charleston, South Carolina on March 22, 1962.[7] Her younger sister, Jennifer Clyburn Reed, is a businesswoman who co-chairs the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission. In 1980, Clyburn graduated from W. J. Keenan High School in Columbia, South Carolina. Clyburn received her bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in banking, finance, and economics from the University of South Carolina in 1984.[8]

Early career


From 1984 to 1998, Clyburn served as publisher, editor, and general manager of the Charleston, South Carolina-based The Coastal Times,[8][9] a weekly African-American newspaper.[10]

From 1998 to 2009, Clyburn was a member of the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC), representing South Carolina's 6th congressional district. She was first elected to the post on July 1, 1998, and served as the chair of the Commission from July 2002 to July 2004.[8]

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)



Clyburn being sworn in as acting FCC chairwoman in 2013

In April 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Clyburn to a vacant Democratic seat on the Federal Communications Commission.[11][12] Clyburn initially was appointed to serve the unexpired term of Jonathan Adelstein, who left the Commission to take up a post in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.[13]

In July 2009, Clyburn was confirmed to a full five-year term; her appointment was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.[14] Clyburn began a second five-year term on the FCC in January 2013, having been nominated by Obama and confirmed by the Senate.[13][9] In May 2013, Obama designated Clyburn as acting chairwoman of the FCC, a position she held until Tom Wheeler was appointed chairman in October 2013.[15][16] Clyburn's five-year term ended on June 30, 2017, but pursuant to federal law,[17] Clyburn remained on the Commission until June 6, 2018.



On the FCC, Clyburn has led efforts to limit the costs of inmate telephone calls in the United States, which can reach exorbitant rates amounting to up to $54 a call.[18][19][20]

Net neutrality


In 2015, Clyburn, alongside fellow Democratic commissioners Wheeler and Jessica Rosenworcel, voted to adopt the FCC Open Internet Order, a regulation protecting net neutrality in the United States.[21] In 2017, after Donald Trump became president, Republicans took control of the FCC for the first time in Clyburn's tenure on the commission, and she was for a time the Commission's sole Democratic member.[17][21] The new Republican-majority Commission under Chairman Ajit Pai sought to reverse FCC initiatives that had occurred under Obama, Clyburn mounted "a vigorous defense of the FCC's pro-consumer policies."[21] After Pai revoked several Obama-era consumer-protection regulations and closed the FCC's inquiry into the telecommunications industry's controversial practice of zero-rating, Clyburn described the moves as an unlawful violation of the "basic principle of administrative procedure that actions must be accompanied by reasons for that action."[22]

Clyburn at a net neutrality demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Clyburn has been a vocal advocate of preserving net neutrality in the United States.[21] In May 2017, Clyburn dissented from the Commission's issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking to repeal net neutrality and strongly criticized the proposal.[23] In December 2017, Clyburn (along with fellow Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel) dissented from the FCC's reversal of the 2015 Open Internet Order. The repeal measure, championed by Pai, passed in a 3-2 party line vote.[24][25] Congressman Jerry McNerney had requested to deliver remarks during the hearing, but was denied. Clyburn submitted her statement as part of the record.[26]

Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers


Clyburn has also clashed with Pai over the Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers, a federal program that has subsidized phone access for low-income Americans since the 1980s. In 2016, Clyburn led an effort to include broadband access in the program for the first time, in order to close the digital divide.[21] Pai countered this effort the following year, by terminating the participation of nine telecommunications companies in the program, a move that Clyburn strongly criticized.[21][22]

Post-FCC career


In 2019, Clyburn was hired as an advisor to T-Mobile to advise on its merger with Sprint.[6] Following Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election, Clyburn was named a member of his transition team.[27]

Personal life and recognition


Clyburn is a past chair of the YWCA of Greater Charleston.[8] In 2009 she was designated a Women's History Month Honoree by the National Women's History Project.[28]


  1. ^ Lecher, Colin (December 14, 2017). "Read the dissenting statements of the Democratic FCC commissioners slamming net neutrality repeal". The Verge. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  2. ^ Castillo, Michelle; Haselton, Todd (December 14, 2017). "The FCC has reversed a 2015 rule that could change how you access and pay for internet service". CNBC. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  3. ^ McGill, Margaret Harding (April 17, 2018). "Obama nominee Mignon Clyburn stepping down from FCC". Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  4. ^ "Biography of Former Commissioner Mignon Clyburn". FCC. 7 June 2018. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  5. ^ Schatz, Amy (29 April 2009). "Mignon Clyburn Nominated to FCC". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Margaret Harding McGill, T-Mobile pays Democratic former FCC commissioner to advise on Sprint merger, Politico (February 4, 2019).
  7. ^ "SENATE JOURNAL 05/08/2006 - South Carolina Legislature Online". www.scstatehouse.gov. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  8. ^ a b c d Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn, South Carolina Public Service Commission.
  9. ^ a b James Rosen, Statement of Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn on Her Confirmation for a Second Term as FCC Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (January 2, 2013).
  10. ^ Kim McAvoy, Getting to Know FCC Hopeful Clyburn, TVNewsCheck (February 11, 2009).
  11. ^ Cecilia Kang, Mignon Clyburn, House Majority Whip's Daughter, Nominated to FCC, Washington Post (May 1, 2009).
  12. ^ Amy Schatz, WSJ Mignon Clyburn Nominated to FCC, Wall Street Journal (April 29, 2009).
  13. ^ a b John Eggerton, Senate Confirms Clyburn to Full FCC Term; Republican FTC commissioner Joshua Wright also confirmed, Broadcasting & Cable (January 2, 2013).
  14. ^ Senate confirms Rep. Clyburn's daughter to FCC post, McClatchy Newspapers (July 24, 2009).
  15. ^ "Commissioner Mignon Clyburn". Biography. Federal Communications Commission. 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  16. ^ Katy Bachman, Senate Confirms Tom Wheeler as Next FCC Chairman, AdWeek (October 29, 2013).
  17. ^ a b Her Term Now Up, Clyburn Still Plans To Serve On FCC, Inside Radio (July 5, 2017).
  18. ^ Brian Fung, Calling a prison inmate can cost $54 a pop. The FCC thinks that’s way too high., Washington Post (October 22, 2015).
  19. ^ Ann E. Marimow, FCC made a case for limiting cost of prison phone calls. Not anymore., Washington Post (February 4, 2017).
  20. ^ Ann E. Marimow, There's no cheap talk when it comes to prison calls. And that’s not changing soon., Washington Post (June 13, 2017).
  21. ^ a b c d e f Sam Gustin, How Mignon Clyburn, the FCC’s Lone Democrat, Is Fighting to Save Net Neutrality, Motherboard Vice (March 22, 2017).
  22. ^ a b Sam Gustin, Trump's New FCC Chief Just Opened the Floodgates for Zero-Rating, Vice Motherboard (February 3, 2017).
  23. ^ Dissenting Statement of Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn, Notice of Proposed rulemaking, Federal Communications Commission (May 18, 2017), pp. 62-74.
  24. ^ Colin Lecher, Read the dissenting statements of the Democratic FCC commissioners slamming net neutrality repeal, The Verge (December 14, 2017).
  25. ^ Eric Limer, Watch FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn's Powerful, Doomed Defense of Net Neutrality, Popular Mechanics (December 14, 2017).
  26. ^ Jerry McNerney (2017). "Rep. McNerney Submits Written Statement for FCC Open Meeting". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  27. ^ Alleven, Monica (2020-11-16). "Former Commissioner Clyburn named to Biden FCC transition team". Fierce Wireless. Retrieved 2022-02-16.
  28. ^ "Honorees: 2010 National Women's History Month". Women's History Month. National Women's History Project. 2010. Archived from the original on 28 August 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2011.