Today, FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker announced that she is resigning from the Commission as of June 3, 2011. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that she will join Comcast as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast’s newly acquired NBCUniversal unit. Baker voted to approve that merger in January. Her departure already has drawn criticism from those who think that relations in Washington are too cozy between regulators and regulated entities. Though the proximity of her departure to her vote on approving the Comcast/NBCU deal may raise eyebrows, the "revolving door" is a way of life here in DC, as public servants often find attractive opportunities in the private sector.
Baker’s departure leaves Commissioner Robert McDowell as the FCC’s lone Republican commissioner. And with Commissioner Copps set to depart the Commission by year’s end, the agency may find itself with only three Commissioners presiding over complex matters such as the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, intercarrier compensation and universal service reform. Politics surrounding a potential successor for Commissioner Copps just became more interesting, as Republicans will now need to get a nomination through, too.