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FCC Commissioner Embroiled in "Comcast Crony" Scandal

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This is, by far, the worst case of corporate cronyism that took place in the latter half of the week.

In January, the FCC approved Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal -- allowing the cable and internet provider a controlling interest of a major broadcast network. Opponents of the merger assert it represents a huge conflict of interest and puts greater strain on Net Neutrality than ever before. But despite the public's concern and fear that the ramifications of the deal weren't being addressed, FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker said, "The NBC/Comcast merger took too long, in my view," two months after voting wholeheartedly for the deal.

Incidentally, she's now been hired to serve as senior vice president for government affairs for the Comcast-controlled NBC Universal.

That's right. Only four months after giving a thumbs up to what fellow FCC commissioner Michael Copps called "a stake [driven] in the heart of independent content production," Baker will now toe the company line as one of Comcast's top lobbyists.

President and chief executive of Free Press Craig Aaron naturally, and logically, opposed Baker's move. He called it "just the latest, though perhaps most blatant, example of a so-called public servant cashing in at a company she is supposed to be regulating."

"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," Aaron added. "The continuously revolving door at the FCC continues to erode any prospects for good public policy."

Free Press now hosts an online petition which holds Baker and the Comcast-NBC merger to task for their possible ethical violation.

Directed toward Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the petition reads:

Even the appearance of corruption erodes the American people's confidence in the government, and Commissioner Baker's departure for Comcast highlights the problem of the revolving door between government and industry in Washington.

As chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, you pledged to investigate outside influence that would constitute a "serious breach of the independent proceedings of the FCC." I urge you to promptly investigate Commissioner Baker's seemingly blatant conflict of interest.

In light of Baker's new job, should be interesting to see where another FCC member will soon end up on AT&T's staff.

(See also: FCC Placates Us Before It Approves AT&T, T-Mobile Merger and Apple's iPhone Tracking Now a Legal Matter)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.