FCC Chairman: Baker Told Us She Might be Talking With Comcast/NBCU About Job


According to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker contacted the general counsel's office on April 13 to ask what she should do if she "entered into exploration of employment with NBCUniversal," and by April 18 had recused herself from any matters that would directly bear on the programmer or Comcast.

That is according to a response to House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) posted on the FCC's website on May 26. Issa had asked for info on Baker's move given her vote on the Comcast/NBCUniversal deal in January. Though he had said it did not appear there had been any ethical violations, "because only a short time has passed since the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger, it is imperative that the public can trust the integrity of the process."

Baker has said that she followed all ethics rules and had resused herself from all votes, not just any that might affect Comcast or NBCU. Comcast executive vice president David Cohen has said publicly that the company hired Baker because she is a "rare talent," in the telecom space; that both she and Comcast followed ethics rules; that the timing was because she was likely about to be renominated and NBCU had just had an opening on its Washington team.

The opening was the departure of Bob Okun--announced April 15--who opened his own consulting government relations firm with Comcast/NBC as his first client. Okun's departure followed the hiring of former National Cable & Telecommunications Association chief Kyle McSlarrow as president of Comcast/NBCU Washington.