Support Marketplace

FCC commissioner headed to Comcast job

The Comcast Center in Philadelphia, and an NBC sign at its studios in Burbank, Calif.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: One of the Federal Communications Commissioners is leaving her appointed post at the end of June. Why is that news? Because Meredith Attwell Baker is going on to a government affairs job at Comcast Cable. Comcast just recently finalized its purchase of entertainment giant NBC Universal -- a purchase that Baker voted for as a commissioner of the FCC.

Let's talk a little bit about the questions that are raised with the move. And whether anyone should be concerned about it in the first place. Eliza Krigman is technology reporter for Politico Pro and she joins us now from Washington. Good morning.

ELISA KRIGMAN: Good morning. Thanks for having me on the show.

CHIOTAKIS: You got it. So, this commissioner was very involved in the Comcast and NBC Universal merger as far as pushing it through a few months ago. She's now leaving the FCC to become a lobbyist for Comcast?

KRIGMAN: Yes. That is correct. She cannot lobby the FCC for a period of two years, but it certainly has raised eyebrows from some people -- free press came out with a very hard hitting statement characterizing it as too cozy of a relationship between the regulators and the entities that they're regulating. As well as Congresswoman Maxine Waters who was the perennial critic of the Comcast-NBC merger who said it exemplifies also this unsavory relationship between the two.

CHIOTAKIS: But to be sure there's no accusation of malfeasance. I mean it's just her leaving on organization and going to another.

KRIGMAN: There is no accusation, however, people are suggesting as much. I think on the other hand she is extremely well respected and some would argue that after seven years of government experience, one should be able to have the opportunity to move into industry and explore other opportunities without it being frowned upon. The issue is that that expertise you developed is within the industry you're regulating. I think it's an issue for all industries, not just telecommunications.

CHIOTAKIS: Now this is common though right? I mean we see this on both sides. Someone going form regulator to the regulated or vise versa right?

KRIGMAN: Yes, this is absolutely common and I think it also exemplifies the struggle President Obama has on his hand to "stop the revolving door." It's very difficult when people are building their expertise and their relationship in those fields and that's where the job opportunities are.

CHIOTAKIS: Eliza Krigman, technology report for Politico Pro, Eliza thanks.

KRIGMAN: Thank you so much.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...