FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker has been receiving a ton of criticism
for taking a high level lobbying job at Comcast just months after approving its huge merger with NBC Universal. The response has been almost universally to condemn Baker in a move that smacks of the corruption of regulatory capture and the revolving door between corporations and the government that regulates them. I had been wondering if all of this publicity would lead to Baker backing down and no longer taking the job (only to take a similar job, more quietly, down the road). But, instead, it looks like she's digging in her heels and insisting that nothing (nothing!) improper is going on here
. She claims she hadn't even considered taking a job until months (months!) after the merger was approved:
Until late this spring, my plan was to
seek renomination for a second term as Commissioner. That was true all through the winter
during consideration of the Comcast/NBCUniversal transaction and in the months after it was
Not once in my entire tenure as a Commissioner had anyone at Comcast or NBCUniversal
approached me about potential employment. When this opportunity became available in mid-
April, I made a personal decision that I wanted to give it serious consideration.
Nowhere in Baker's statement does she even come close to acknowledging the concerns that people have raised. Instead, she claims that she's been extra ethical
in that she's "gone further" than what the law requires:
I have not only
complied with the legal and ethical laws, but I also have gone further. I have not participated or
voted any item, not just those related to Comcast or NBCUniversal, since entering discussions
about an offer of potential employment. Because of this, I plan to depart the Commission as soon
as I am able to ensure an orderly wind-down of my office.
Well, isn't that nice.