Meredith Attwell Baker, one of two Republican commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission, is resigning to join NBCUniversal's Washington office. Her exit leaves just one Republican on the FCC, Robert McDowell.
Baker has served at the FCC since July 2009. Prior to the FCC, she headed up the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Though her term was up this June, she was expected to be renominated by President Obama. The president will now have two seats to fill at the FCC. Democrat Michael Copps is set to leave by the end of the year.
Baker will report to Kyle McSlarrow, president of Comcast/NBCUniversal for Washington, D.C., who recently joined the company after heading up the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. She will also work with Rick Cotton, NBCU's executive vice president and general counsel, who sets strategic policy direction for the TV network.
While most everyone in Washington shot off the usual "best wishes" statements about Baker, liberal public interest group Free Press took the opportunity to blast her for leaving the FCC just four months after approving Comcast's purchase of NBCU.
"This is 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," said Craig Aaron, CEO of Free Press. "As recently as March, Commissioner Baker gave a speech lamenting that review of the Comcast-NBCU deal 'took too long.' What we didn't know then was that she was in such a rush to start picking out the drapes in her new corner office."