Comcast’s New Lobbyist: Conflict of Interest?

Nonprofits urge public to protest against Commissioner Baker's new job

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Many people within the American public have, and still, criticize the Comcast and NBC Universal merger. However, the disapproval reached a new level last week. Meredith Attwell Baker, a commissioner with the FCC, announced that she would be leaving the commission when her term ends next month to take a lobbyist position with none other than Comcast.

In case you forgot, this announcement comes just a little less than four months since Baker voted to approve the cable giant’s merger with NBC Universal. A little fishy, right? Under her new position, she is barred from lobbying the FCC, but she can still use her connections in Congress in order to benefit Comcast’s cause.

Should this action be acceptable? We’d love to hear your opinion.

Joel Kelsey, who is a political advisor with nonprofit group Free Press, told us that these “revolving door” instances are happening so frequently that they have, essentially, turned into a “valet service.”

“It’s got a lot of people scratching their head because it’s not the only example of a revolving door aspect of FCC staff leaving the Commission to go work for the companies they once regulated, but it certainly is the most blatant example,” he said.

According to him, this is the type of ongoing behavior that has given the American people a bad impression of government. The regulators are supposed to protect the public even if the best interest isn’t in accordance with that of the shareholders and investors.

Although Commissioner Baker claims she acted within the law, Free Press and others believe the ethical issues are much greater. Kelsey said the biggest ethical issue is how and when Comcast went about asking Baker to come on board.

“There’s always the question of, ‘Do I want to go work for this company that offered me a job after I’m done with my time here at the Commission?’ And that is certain to have an affect on the decisions a commissioner makes,” he said.

While Kelsey doesn’t think that Baker’s influence would protect Comcast entirely from regulators, he did say that she could be a “cushion” for them. He and Free Press are asking people to contact Congressman Darrell Issa, who is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and request an investigation based on a conflict of interest for Baker.

Kelsey also suggests that consumers contact their senators and ask Congress to enforce a pledge that would limit how quickly employees of government agencies could work for the companies that they once regulated.

Do you think this type of pledge is necessary?

Comcast’s New Lobbyist: Conflict of Interest?
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  • roger muldavin

    Even here locally (Arcadia, Michigan, on Lake Michigan coast), Township Commissions and Board have serious conflicts of interest (coi), however it appears in Michigan, coi’s are restricted to financial (compare with Califiornia’s listing of past contracts with others for six months).

    It’s a two edged sword in that… got disconnected from android, right now mergers of NBC with Comcast has caused interference with my android, but plugged it into my Mac OSX 10+, and am typing now.

    So far I check location of android calls (which are inintelligible due to noises) by their area code. Right now 240 (Deleware, MD, home base of many corporations, big ones).

    Since years ago I observed Comcast blue-backgrounding both the pop downs and main page of a chat with NYT Space and Cosmos. I was near Boston out some 30 miles radius visiting my son.

    Conclude open internet does challenge BIG CORPS, and the anwser is not “BIG GOVERNMENTS”.

    We the People are above the Constituted Governments, enpowered by Nature in its many forms.

    Thanks for the space… with it’s powers of infinity to those interested, best, rm

    • roger muldavin

      In trying to reach by IT the FCC, not sure I got them, a male voice, unbroken, not noisy, voice answered, then was disconnected. Overloaded lines? Usually there is a printed notice of busy?

      InterNet multilogging (Social Networking) needs many improvement to match increasing population densities to match human, other life forms, and eco sustainability needs , some improvements appear to be happeniing, at what price or cost?

      What will work? ERGO in latin. QED? Quantum Electro Dynamics? Quid Est Demonstratum?

      Can we count upon of natures laws throughout the infinity to the powers of infinities of space that included time.

      Spin-knows-a thing or two, observations and good notes are music to our ears along the the “Trail of Tears”.

      I’d like to push “non-harvesting space visitors”, (n-hsv), to thank Steven Hawking for his plea that his condition is a caution to us all. Personally I favor n-hsv because we are all in this global POST WW3 period, slipping down the jagged territory of brutal war. Hopes, not dopes.

      Be back if I reach FCC, best rm

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