FCC commissioner steps into top lobbying job

Earlier this year, Meredith Attwell Baker, a commissioner at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, fought on behalf of a controversial merger of Comcast and NBC. Four months after approving the deal, valued at US$30 billion, she is taking a job as a top lobbyist for the newly merged Comcast-NBC, The Hill reported yesterday.

In arguing on behalf of the massive deal, Baker, one of two Republican commissioners, said the “complex and significant transaction” could “bring exciting benefits to consumers that outweigh potential harms,” according to Ars Technica.

Baker has confirmed she will leave the FCC on June 3, and will join Comcast at its Washington, DC offices under the title of senior vice president of government affairs for NBCUniversal, Politico reported.

Although she is technically barred from lobbying the FCC for two years, the move is an example of problems caused when regulators and those being regulated get too close.

“As recently as March, Commissioner Baker gave a speech lamenting that review of the Comcast-NBC deal ‘took too long.’ What we didn’t know then was that she was in such a rush to start picking out the drapes in her new corner office,” said Free Press’ Craig Aaron in a statement. “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.”

In a statement issued by Comcast, President of Comcast/NBCUniversal for Washington, DC Kyle McSlarrow, said: “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 NBCUniversal. Meredith’s executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBCUniversal the perfect combination of skills.”

Legally, the FCC must have two members who are not of the same party as the sitting president. It is currently made up of two Republicans and three Democrats, Politico explained.

Image: FCC
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