Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Baker approved Comcast's purchase of NBC in January, and is going to work for Comcast in May, the Wall Street Journal reports, and Comcast confirms.
Now, I've read what Baker wrote on the deal, including her criticism of the FCC for extracting unrelated concessions from the companies as conditions of the approval. I have problems with the government intervening at all in a voluntary sale between two consenting adults (GE and Comcast). In other words, I don't think there's anything wrong with Baker's approval of the deal, nor do I think she did the companies any favors.
But still. It strikes me as less than okay for her to monetize her public service in this way. She, as an agent of the government, had great power over the shape this company would take, sided with the company, and now she's getting paid by them.
This unseemly arrangement will infuriate those who opposed the deal — especially those big-government liberals who think the FCC's allowing this deal is somehow a favor to the companies. For those of us who like the way Baker ruled as a chairman, it's not infuriating. It's just depressing.
I'm pretty sure I take the policy positions I take because I think they are right and good. I like to think the same of others, especially those who agree with me, and who often offer eloquent arguments for those positions.
But when you see Baker do the right thing as a commissioner and give the right arguments — but then cash out to the parties that benefitted — it saps the spirit. It makes you wonder if everyone in this town is just trying to game the system — except for the suckers.