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Public Knowledge: FCC Should Publicize Commissioner JobSearches

Public Knowledge has asked the FCC, in the future, to
require commissioners and staffers to make public any negotiations for new
employment.

That comes after PK and others were surprised by the
news that FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker was leaving to join
Comcast/NBCU.

In a letter to the chairman, PK said that FCC
officials recusing themselves from dockets or issues because of such
negotiations should be required to file a public letter with that recusal
information, as it said used to be the case before that requirement
"lapsed."

They asked that the chairman "immediately"
reinstate the requirement.

Comcast and Baker have said they complied with all ethics
requirements, with Baker getting advice from FCC attorneys, she said last
week in a statement.

Her move has drawn criticism coming so close to her vote to
approve the Comcast/NBCU merger. But all the other commissioners voted to
approve the deal as well, and her support squared with her long-held,
pro-marketplace views. 

Comcast EVP David Cohen said this week that
the company acted quickly to snag Baker because she was a rare talent
about to be renominated for another FCC terms, after which it would have
been tougher for her to leave.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.