Group Asks FCC Commissioners To Promise Not To Go Work For AT&T If They Vote To Approve T-Mobile Merger

from the name-and-shame dept

Following the story of FCC commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker joining Comcast as a lobbyist just a few months after approving that company's buyout of NBC Universal, the group Free Press is asking the remaining FCC commissioners to take a pledge that, if they vote to approve the AT&T/T-mobile merger, they won't then take a lobbying job with AT&T. Of course, if any of them took the pledge, it's not clear what's to stop them from then breaking the pledge...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    SpacePirate, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    Why Bother

    It doesn't seem like the pledge says anything about being on the AT&T payroll now though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    STJ, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    A customer service advisor for $200,000? Not a bad gig.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 3:17pm

    Why is it even legal for FCC employees to do this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    A Dan (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 3:22pm

    Re:

    Because it hasn't been made illegal. Things are legal by default.

    More to the point, in order to understand the complex decisions required to be a regulator, you need to be intimately familiar with what you are regulating in order to make good decisions. These people are so specialized that, if they leave their regulating positions, there's not anywhere they'd be more qualified to work for than the companies they're regulating. If they couldn't, it would severely hamper the future employability of the regulators. That would make it career suicide, and we'd end up with far less-knowledgeable people people making important decisions. That's the argument, anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Hugh Mann (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    So . . .

    . . . should they promise to not go to work for Verizon or Sprint if they vote against the merger?

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    Re:

    In theory, it's because someone who made a career in the FCC probably has knowledge that is very specific to that industry, and banning them from said industry would unnecessarily restrain their employment options. They would liken it to a hand surgeon who was no longer allowed to operate on hands just because he moved to a different hospital.

    The problem with this view is that while FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is certainly very knowledgeable about the communications industry, you can bet dollars to pesos that Comcast wouldn't hire him. And you'd be naive if you didn't think that had something to do with his vote against the Comcast/NBC merger.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re:

    And therein lies the red herring.

    No one is saying that Baker isn't allowed to find employment in the telecom industry. What we're saying is that she shouldn't find employment as a lobbyist with the company that she just approved a mega-merger for.

    I highly doubt anyone would have made a stink about Baker had she gone to work for Verizon, or had she gone into R&D with Comcast instead of lobbying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    A Dan (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, I agree, the revolving door stinks of corruption. I am not the enemy you are looking for (hence my last sentence).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    LegitTroll (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    These are not the droids you're looking for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    LegitTroll (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    Re: So . . .

    "What the hell do you mean the reverse is also true?"

    I agree with that completely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 4:58pm

    I bet none of them will take that pledge, and if asked about it they won't say anything beyond, "No comment." Then at least one of them will start working at AT&T right away, and they'll give the same "I had already been planning to for years" line Baker gave.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 7:01pm

    Re:

    "I had already been planning to for years"

    So then approving the merger was part of their plan to get hired? Premeditated corruption.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You don't want to sell me deathsticks. You want to go home and rethink your life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 7:07pm

    Suggestion In Bad Taste

    In some countries, such a disrespectful attempt to question the impartiality of the legal tribunal would see you face immediate legal penalties.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re:

    So ban regulators from taking employment with companies that would result in a conflict of interest. How to determine the criteria for that is the challenge.

    That makes me think. I've been hearing people talk about term limits as a measure to reduce government corruption. As I see it, it would increase corruption. If they aren't eligible for re-election, then it behooves them to legislate in favor of their next employer. That is, unless you can't take employment with companies that you've had legislative dealings with during your term. So in the instance of the FCC, vote on Comcast/NBC merger and you can't take a job from them. Although, you can take a job from ABC, CBS, or FOX assuming you haven't also had to regulate them directly as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Suggestion In Bad Taste

    those are the corrupt countries. They just dont like being called out on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 11:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Plan B: Abolish the FCC.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jun 4th, 2011 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re: Suggestion In Bad Taste

    The corruption in US legistalives is so high, Jedi Knights can't exist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Jun 4th, 2011 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was going to rebut your comment, but then I thought about how all the freed spectrum could be used solely for ubiquitous internet access, which would negate the need for conventional radio altogether. FM, AM, and TV are, after all, just obsolete methods of transmitting information, of which, the internet does better than all the above combined.

    So yes, abolish the FCC we really don't need them anymore. Then people can dump the cell phones and get wireless IP phones that don't need a carrier, just an IM client installed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 4th, 2011 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    " or had she gone into R&D with Comcast instead "

    ... The woman is an idiot ... "What's an antenna?" ... R&D for her translates as Really Dumb.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Jun 4th, 2011 @ 12:21pm

    Instead of working for AT&T, just become a supplier

    A vendor of something that they need to buy from you.

    After FCC Commissioner such-and-so votes for AT&TMobile merger, they leave the FCC and become a vendor that sells AT&T much needed specially treated toothpicks.

    Or they become a donation supported writer that regularly posts on TechDirt articles that mention AT&T.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Thomas (profile), Jun 4th, 2011 @ 5:12pm

    Lots of luck..

    getting that through. AT&T will certainly offer cushy highly paid jobs to any member of the FCC (and probably Congress) that votes in favor of the merger.

    In lots of countries this would be called bribery, but here it is just business as usual. It's not just AT&T; look at who Comcast hired after their merger got approved.

    Politics in the U.S. is just plain dirty once you get past the lowest elected levels. Honest politicians do not get re-elected if they ever even manage to get elected in the first place. The people who work for the various commissions need something to fall back on if they are booted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    alternatives(), Jun 5th, 2011 @ 5:56am

    what's to stop them from then breaking the pledge

    Why the public and private shame from breaking that pledge, that is what!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This