Revolving Door Alert: FCC Commissioner to Take Job at Comcast


From the Wall Street Journal

Republican Federal Communications Commission commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker is planning to leave the agency for a job at Comcast Corp., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Ms. Baker is expected to announce her departure as soon as this week for an unknown position at the Philadelphia-based cable giant. Comcast declined to comment, a company spokeswoman said.

Ms. Baker did not respond to several emails and phone calls for comment.

She came to the FCC in 2009 from the Commerce Department, where she was the acting head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees federal airwaves. At the agency, she oversaw a government coupon program that made it cheaper for Americans make the switch to digital-only television.

She joined the Commerce Department in 2004. Prior to her government service, Ms. Baker served as a telecommunications attorney for various firms.

Baker's move to Comcast comes just four months after she voted, along with three of the agency's other FCC commissioners, to approve Comcast's $13.75 billion deal to acquire control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co.

Much hay is being made over Baker joining Comcast after approving the merger with NBC, even though she was joined by two Democrats, one of whom was FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a former investor in small network firms whose interests were at odds with Comcast's. The lone dissenter to the merger was FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, an ally of the Parents Television Council and censorship advocate who happens to also believe that private television, radio, print, and web media outlets should be turned into public utilities, or at the very least, have government-assigned coverage/balance quotas. In short, based solely on that one vote, every sane member of the FCC could've walked through the revolving door from government into business.

Peter Suderman's fantastic March piece on the FCC will give you a sense of Baker's politics. Short version: Baker's move to Comcast is consistent with her longstanding philosophical belief in a light regulatory touch on tech issues in general and her staunch objection to regulating the Internet in particular.