In a move that has drawn the ire of a number of critics, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member who voted to authorize the controversial merger of Comcast ( CMCSA ) and NBC Universal is leaving the organization to assume a role in Comcast's Washington lobbying office, the New York Times reports .
Meredith Attwell Baker, who has served as an FCC commissioner since 2009, voted to approve Comcast's $30 billion bid for NBC Universal in January of this year following a 355-day review process. However, the decision was assailed by critics who opposed a deliverer of content purchasing a producer of content.
Similarly, Baker's latest announcement has spurred a wave of prominent opponents, including Craig Aaron, the president of media interest group Free Press, to condemn the move as ethically dubious.
"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 said. "The continuously revolving door at the FCC continues to erode any prospects for good public policy."
Still, Comcast said it did not begin negotiations with Baker until after the FCC had approved the merger. Further, other interest groups affirmed that given Baker's pro-business voice and voting history, it is likely she would have approved the merger regardless of a potential job position.
Baker will report to Kyle McSlarrow at Comcast. McSlarrow joined the company in April, leaving behind his position as head of the cable industry's top trade group, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. McSlarrow was replaced at the organization by former FCC Chairman Michael Powell, according to the Associated Press .