Posted on ars technica under tech policy
Meredith Attwell Baker, one of the two Republican Commissioners at the Federal Communications Commission, plans to step down—and right into a top lobbying job at Comcast-NBC. The news, reported this afternoon by the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Politico, comes after the hugely controversial merger of Comcast and NBC earlier this year. At the time, Baker objected to FCC attempts to impose conditions on the deal and argued that the “complex and significant transaction” could “bring exciting benefits to consumers that outweigh potential harms.”
Four months after approving the massive transaction, Attwell Baker will take a top DC lobbying job for the new Comcast-NBC entity, according to reports. The response of groups like Free Press was expected in its anger, but not without merit. “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.”
Such cash-ins, of course, are a bipartisan affair in Washington. Attwell Baker this afternoon released a statement once the news broke, explaining that she would leave 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.”
Update: Comcast has issued an official announcement. Attwell Baker will report to Kyle McSlarrow, who formerly ran the top cable lobbying group NCTA. 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 NBC Universal. Meredith’s executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBC Universal the perfect combination of skills.” via
After approving NBC buyout, FCC Commish becomes Comcast lobbyist.