After voting to approve the Comcast-NBCUniversal mega-merger earlier this year, FCC regulator Meredith Attwell Baker has accepted the job of senior vice president of government affairs for the combined company.
Always a reliably anti-regulation and pro-big business voice at the FCC, Baker, one of two Republicans on the five-member Commission, will now become a lobbyist for Comcast, beginning 3 June.
Reacting to the sure and swift criticism of the appointment, Comcast did say that it didn't approach Baker about the job until after the transaction was complete.
Nonetheless, the hire is evidence of an ongoing conflict of interest within government departments, said Craig Aaron, head of the public interest group Free Press. This is nothing more than "business as usual in Washington — where the complete capture of government by industry barely raises any eyebrows," he said.
Comcast, the U.S.' No. 1 broadcast operator, was approved to take a controlling interest in media behemoth NBCUniversal in a 4 to 1 vote at the FCC, paving the way for a transaction that has many worried about implications for 'Net neutrality and market monopoly when it comes to content distribution. The deal was approved with several stringent conditions to atempt to level the playing field.