File this in the "why am I not surprised?" folder, please. Republican FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker is leaving her post at the FCC to become Comcast's Senior VP of Government Affairs.
The news, reported this afternoon by the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Politico, comes after the hugely controversial merger of Comcast and NBC earlier this year. At the time, Baker objected to FCC attempts to impose conditions on the deal and argued that the "complex and significant transaction" could "bring exciting benefits to consumers that outweigh potential harms."
Four months after approving the massive transaction, Attwell Baker will take a top DC lobbying job for the new Comcast-NBC entity, according to reports.
The response of groups like Free Press was expected in its anger, but not without merit. "No wonder the public is so nauseated by business as usual in Washington—where the complete capture of government by industry barely raises any eyebrows," said Free Press' Craig Aaron. "The continuously revolving door at the FCC continues to erode any prospects for good public policy. We hope—but won't hold our breath—that her replacement will be someone who is not just greasing the way for their next industry job."
Baker has spoken against net neutrality regulations in the past. I imagine Comcast will be very happy to have her on the team. Sigh.
In case you're not familiar with Baker's connections, here's her pedigree:
Baker, an ebullient Houston native, needs little introduction within Washington. She is daughter-in-law of former secretary of state James A. Baker III. Husband James A. Baker IV is a senior partner at law firm Baker Botts.
Her introduction to Washington was in high school, when she was an exchange student. Coincidentally, she stayed with the family of FCC chief of staff Edward Lazarus and attended a semester at Sidwell Friends School.
After working at the State Department, she fell into technology policy by accident. Baker followed Steven Barry, a former boss from State to wireless trade group CTIA. Baker then joined the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to work on spectrum management before taking over for John M. R. Kneuer in November 2008.