FCC Commissioner Baker's Move To Comcast Continues To Draw Attention
May 24, 2011 at 4:55 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioner MEREDITH ATTWELL BAKER's move to COMCAST's NBCUNIVERSAL continues to cause friction, with one House committee chairman asking for more information on the hiring and a tweet by a nonprofit group against BAKER's move resulting in a controversy over COMCAST pulling funding from the group.
Rep. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to FCC Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI last week asking for more information about the rules and how the Commission followed them. "Based on the public statements of both Commissioner Baker and the FCC," wrote ISSA, "it does not appear that she violated any of her legal or ethical obligations in accepting a position with COMCAST. Nevertheless, because only a short time has passed since the COMCAST-NBC UNIVERSAL merger, it is imperative that the public can trust the integrity of the process."
Meanwhile, in WASHINGTON state, a COMCAST cable system responded to a critical tweet about BAKER's hiring from a nonprofit group called REEL GRRLS by saying it would cut the group's funding, a move immediately disavowed by COMCAST's corporate office. The nonprofit refused COMCAST's apology and said it would now focus its productions on "free press issues."
BAKER's move has drawn more criticism than the many previous moves of public officials directly to private industry with which they had previously dealt, such as Sen. CHRIS DODD (D-CT) moving from the Senate to head the MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA.