Comcast hires FCC’s Meredith Attwell Baker for NBC

Your corporate retainers and handmaidens at work (h/t Sam Seder, my emphasis):

Cable giant Comcast Corp. has hired Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker as senior vice president of government affairs for its NBCUniversal unit.

Baker, who will leave the FCC when her term expires in June, is the latest hire for Comcast, which has been beefing up its already formidable lobbying team since taking over NBCUniversal. Earlier this year, Comcast wooed National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. President Kyle McSlarrow away from the association to be president of Comcast/NBCUniversal Washington.

“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 NBCUniversal,” McSlarrow said in a statement.

She voted on the Comcast-NBC merger, and this is her reward. She’s prevented from lobbying for a while; I’ll bet she doesn’t even have to show up for work on any schedule but her own.

Michael Powell got the same kind of sweet deal, by the way:

It is not uncommon for government officials to end up working for companies that they used to regulate. Former FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell, for example, recently succeeded McSlarrow as head of the national cable association.

That “national cable association” is the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. Powell becomes president, replacing the guy Comcast hired to be president of “president of Comcast/NBCUniversal Washington,” as noted above. President of the cable association is a multi-million-dollar job.

Commissioner Baker is a Republican and married to the son of James Baker (yep, the daughter-in-law). And of course, Michael Powell is Colin Powell’s son.

The AP called Ms. Baker “a reliable pro-business voice who frequently expressed concern that the agency was imposing unnecessary and onerous regulations on phone and cable companies.” She also opposed network neutrality and in March 2011 (note: two months ago) stated that the review of the Comcast NBC merger “took too long.” Now we know why she seemed to be on a schedule.

Baker was an Obama appointment, just so you know.

Welcome to Thank You Street, Ms. Baker; your carriage awaits.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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