Commissioner Baker quits FCC for Comcast
FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker said Wednesday she was resigning from the agency to take a lobbying job at NBC Universal.
Baker's exit from the FCC came just four months after she voted in favor of Comcast's $13.8 billion acquisition of NBC from its parent company, General Electric.
She will leave her post at the FCC for NBC on June 3, instead of waiting until her term expires later that month. Baker reportedly will not be permitted to lobby the FCC for two years but will be able to lobby Congress.
"I've been privileged to serve in government for the past seven years under President Obama at the FCC and President Bush at NTIA, I'm excited to embark on a new phase of my career with Comcast and NBC Universal," Baker said in a statement.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski praised Baker's work at the agency, even though the Republican commissioner sometimes disagreed with Genachowski, a Democrat.
"Meredith's wonderful spirit, broad experience and deep policy acumen have made the FCC a more effective agency," Genachowski said in a statement. "She's made our decisions smarter and our policies better."
Kyle McSlarrow, president of Comcast/NBC Universal for Washington, D.C., said in a statement he was "thrilled" to have Baker on board.
"Meredith's executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBC Universal the perfect combination of skills," McSlarrow said.
Consumer interest group Free Press was less excited about Baker's new lobbying job. Craig Aaron, Free Press' president and CEO, called Baker's exit from the FCC an example of Washington's "revolving door" between the public and private sectors.
During the FCC's review of Comcast's merger with NBC, Baker pushed the agency to abandon restrictions on the deal, arguing it would "bring exciting benefits to consumers that outweigh potential harms."
Comcast's takeover of NBC raised concerns that the combined company would monopolize content and have too much control over the media landscape. The FCC approved the merger with an extensive list of conditions in January. Baker was one of four commissioners who voted in favor of the deal; Commissioner Michael Copps dissented.