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FCC revolving door keeps turning

By Laurie Bennett

May 12, 2011 at 7:59am

Another day, another dollar for a federal regulator joining the industry being regulated.

This time, it’s Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, who announced that she would leave on June 3.

Although Baker didn’t say where she’s headed, Comcast sent out a release saying she will become senior vice president of government affairs for NBCUniversal.

Baker joined the commission in 2009, after serving with the National Telecomunications and Information Administration during the George W. Bush White House.

Meredith Attwell Baker
Meredith Attwell Baker

News of her departure comes four months she voted to approve a merger between Comcast and NBC Universal. She later publicly called for changes in government oversight, saying the Comcast merger approval took too long.

At the time of the FCC approvial, she issued a joint statement with fellow commissioner Robert M. McDowell, calling for a narrowing of the federal review process.

“This transaction is only the most recent example of several problematic FCC merger proceedings that have set a trend toward more lengthy and highly regulatory review processes that may discourage future transactions and job-creating investment,” they wrote.

In words that must have been music to the owners of Comcast, they also commented about the growing online video market: “At a time of innovation and experimentation that is both dynamic and disruptive, the (approval) order fails to recognize that the contours of our collective video future are best shaped outside the Beltway.”

We’ve written before about the revolving door at the FCC.

Michael K. Powell, son of Colin Powell, was chairman of the commission from 2001 to 2005. He’s now president & CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Charles Ferris, FCC chairman from 1977 to 1981, became a Cablevision lobbyist.

Other former FCC chairs include Dennis Patrick, who became CEO of Time Warner Telecommunications; and Richard E. Wiley, founder of the law firm Wiley Rein, which counts the National Association of Broadcasters and major broadcasting companies among its clients.

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2 Comments

  • #1.   Barbara Kilgore 05.14.2011

    Why can I not help but wonder if she is the daughter of Lee Attwell and married to a son of Jim Baker’s? Why not a little personal network knowledge here?

  • #2.   Laurie Bennett 05.14.2011

    Excellent questions. We had not come across relevant personal connections in our initial research, but you’re right on one count. Meredith Attwell Baker is the daughter-in-law of former Secretary of State Jim Baker. Her husband, Jamie Baker, is a partner at Baker Botts.

    We’ve added these relationships to our database, and to the map. Thanks.

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