Revolving Door: FCC Commissioner Votes For Comcast/NBC Merger And, Four Months Later, Given Position As Senior Vice President in Comcast-NBC

Critics are charging this week that Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Baker has given this swamp-based city another glaring example of how to turn public service into personal gain. Just four months after voting to allow the merger between Comcast and NBC Universal, she has been given a high-paid job as senior vice president of governmental affairs by . . . you guessed it . . . Comcast-NBC.

The revolving door hire reminds many of the hiring of Billy Tauzin by the Pharmaceutical Industry after, as chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Tauzin pushed through landmark Medicare Act of 2003 loaded up with billions of dollars of windfalls for the industry. At least Tauzin waited ten months. The industry proceeded to hire a host of staffers and members who secured the legislation.

Baker, a Republican, joined the FCC in 2009 under President George W. Bush. In a statement, the company’s Washington office president, Kyle McSlarrow, said, “Meredith’s executive branch and business experience along with her exceptional relationships in Washington bring Comcast and NBCUniversal the perfect combination of skills.” By the way, McSlarrow is a Republican activist who served as the national chair of the Dan Quayle for presidential campaign and ran for Congress himself, unsuccessfully. “Those exceptional relationships in Washington” is precisely the problem being raised by this profitable shift to Comcast-NBC.

Source: Washington Post

34 thoughts on “Revolving Door: FCC Commissioner Votes For Comcast/NBC Merger And, Four Months Later, Given Position As Senior Vice President in Comcast-NBC

  1. “Baker, a Republican, joined the FCC in 2009 under President George W. Bush.”

    This says it all. What is confusing though is that when I worked for NYC, there was supposedly a two year ban on leaving City employ and working for a firm doing business with the City. I found out as a Director of Contracts though, that this was little enforced. I found myself in negotiations with an ex-Deputy Commissioner, who had worked for my Agency the year before and was now presenting a proposal for extra funding for the Non-Profit he now worked for. This was a proposal endorsed by Mayor Guiliani’s office, which insisted on a no-bid contract. I refused and luckily for me a scandal broke out two weeks later in a similar case, making this proposal moot.

    Nevertheless, there is such a law on the Books in NYC, I would have thought there would be one on a Federal Level. I guess not.

  2. Mike S., the prohibitions regard leaving government and becoming a lobbyist; 1 year for Representatives and their staff, 2 years or Senators and their staff. There are no prohibition on going to work for any industry or lobbying firm and doing other things until those time limits are up.

    We saw this during the vote for the Medicare Part D bill covering drugs. Aides literally quit their jobs the next day and went to work for pharmaceutical manufacturers and lobbying firms- counting paperclips and ‘consulting’ presumably. I think one elected official actually left before the end of his term.

    We have the best government money can buy🙂

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicare_Part_D

    “Former Congressman Billy Tauzin, R-La., who steered the bill through the House, retired soon after and took a $2 million a year job as president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the main industry lobbying group. Medicare boss Thomas Scully, who threatened to fire Medicare Chief Actuary Richard Foster if he reported how much the bill would actually cost, was negotiating for a new job as a pharmaceutical lobbyist as the bill was working through Congress.[26][27] A total of 14 congressional aides quit their jobs to work for the drug and medical lobbies immediately after the bill’s passage.”

  3. Mike S. and lottakatz:

    By limiting the prohibition to lobbying, the rules leave a hole large enough to drive a bus through. If one is employed in a sufficiently powerful corporate position, it is obvious that the ability to solicit favors can be successfully utilized without the need to register as a lobbyist.

  4. Mike A, re loophole; absolutely right and I am confident that the way the law is framed is not an accident. It’s corruption plain and simple.

    BTW, I’m so glad to see you posting lately, I always enjoy reading your thoughts on a matter.

  5. ANON NURSE wrote ‘Republicans are winning the war, one corporation at a time…’. The reverse is true, too. Corporations are winning the war one Republican at a time.

  6. Corporations are winning the war one Republican at a time.
    -Randy Macon

    Yep. And when it’s over, we won’t know what hit us… Influential Republicans and corporations are at war in America, and they play by a different set of rules. The Constitution and rule of law are of little consequence.. Dems, as usual, are “playing nice” — generally unaware, it would seem, about the domestic war that’s in progress…

  7. Over Two Hundred SEC Officials Have Gone To Private Sector Since 2006
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/13/sec-private-sector-officials-revolving-door_n_861473.html

    Reuters

    Excerpt:
    WASHINGTON (Tim Reid) – At least 219 former officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission have left since 2006 to help clients with business before the agency, bringing fresh allegations of a “revolving door” that leaves the commission too cozy with the Wall Street firms it regulates.

    According to a report to be released on Friday, between 2006 and 2010 there were 219 former SEC employees who filed letters with the agency indicating their intent to represent a client with business before the commission.

    In all, those former officials advised firms on SEC business nearly 800 times, according to an advance copy of the report seen by Reuters.

    The study by the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight, which analyzed post-employment statements provided by the SEC after a Freedom of Information Act request, says the former officials joined a total of 131 firms to provide legal, lobbying, accounting and other advice to clients being investigated or regulated by the SEC.

    Republican Senator Charles Grassley, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, said of the report: “The SEC’s revolving door seems to be more active than ever.”

    Grassley said there should be public disclosure of where former financial regulators are working and what issues they are working on. “Transparency is a proven back-stop to enforce ethics rules,” he said.

  8. “Transparency is a proven back-stop to enforce ethics rules.” – Charles Grassley

    Elaine,

    It’s been said that “democracies die behind closed doors.” I guess one could add that democracies die with revolving doors.

    Decades ago, as my father was preparing to retire from the military, he was approached by a Wisconsin corporation for a lucrative position, which included a lake home, numerous other perks, and a generous salary. Shortly before the deal was inked, he learned that he would be expected to provide classified information obtained while in the military. He sought other options, but what about the next guy in line…

    Of course, we desperately need transparency, but we also need to slow down the revolving doors, if not completely block at least some of them.

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