Meredith Attwell Baker, one of the two Republican Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission, plans to step down from the agency to take a lobbying job at Comcast-NBC. It’s an odd turn of events, considering that at the time, Baker objected to the FCC attempts to impose conditions on the merger deal.
This news comes a mere four months after approving the deal. Now Baker will become a top DC lobbyist for the newly formed entity. The media and advocacy groups that opposed the merger are having a field day with the news.
No wonder the public is so nauseated by business as usual in Washington—where the complete capture of government by industry barely raises any eyebrows," said Free Press’ Craig Aaron. "The continuously revolving door at the FCC continues to erode any prospects for good public policy. We hope—but won’t hold our breath—that her replacement will be someone who is not just greasing the way for their next industry job."
Baker released a statement this afternoon when the deal broke, saying that she would leave the FCC on June 3 and that she was "privileged to have had the opportunity to serve the country at a time of critical transformation in the telecommunications industry."
"The continued deployment of our broadband infrastructures will meaningfully impact the lives of all Americans. I am happy to have played a small part in this success," she continued.
Comcast also issued a statement confirming Baker’s new job, adding that she would report to Kyle McSlarrow, who at one time ran the cable lobbying group NCTA.
"Commissioner Baker is one of the nation’s leading authorities on communications policy and we’re thrilled she’s agreed to head the government relations operations for NBC Universal," said Kyle McSlarrow. "Meredith’s executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBC Universal the perfect combination of skills.”
If anything this appointment is a real black eye for the FCC, who, with every watered down ruling and telecom merger approval, looks like it is in the pocket of corporate America.
Source: Ars Technica