A high level official got invited to a party, and declined because "the rules folks over here tell me I can't". They know each other (makes sense, they're both working at a high level in the same industry) and they have people watching their backs to make sure they don't do anything that can legally be considered corrupt (again, makes sense, shit's a minefield and an ill-defined one at that. If I were in that position I would have people keeping an eye on that whether I was corrupt or pious as a lamb)
Am I missing something? I clicked on that link salivating for the political blood of Comcast executives and all I got was a polite grownup email version of "sry bro can't come, rules n shyt, sounds bumpin tho"
Basically, if your reaction to such an invitation is to ask legal "how can I go to this rad absolutely not work related party without giving the impression of impropriety?" instead of telling the other person "this is unacceptable and you know it".. you're not out for the publics best interest.
Out of sheer politeness, I sometimes respond with a "those stuffed shirts say I can't". It's a handy non-confrontational excuse that can't really be argued against, and doesn't make you sound like a prig.
By way of analogy, can you imagine a judge dispensing with formalities and telling the people facing him in court "Relax! Call me Jim." Obviously not. Because when it comes to the law, conspicuously arms-lengths relationships are essential.
That's the problem, it's a small world, and blurry lines, when you get to highly technical corners of it.
Otherwise politely turning down an offer by quoting the layers vs trying to accuse a potential business lead of impropriety is how it happens in the real world.
Frankly, it should go without saying that anyone making this jump has been bribed. Accepting a job from a former subject of regulation should result in jail time for both the hire, and the people responsible for hiring them.
Consider Meredith Attwell Baker, the former FCC commissioner who approved the NBC / Comcast a few months before taking a high-level (and insanely well paid) job as a lobbyist for the combined company she (legally) helped create.
Again, she should be in jail for that, and so should the people with the nerve to hire her. Instead, they're all making millions while trust in our government is rightfully hitting rock bottom.
I strongly dislike language as crass and degrading as "corporate whore". At the same time, I struggle to find a more apt description of what happened here. It's indefensibly despicable and anyone who says otherwise is simply flagging themselves as a part of the problem.
I'm not missing that at all. The fact that we expect corporations to further their own interests over those of the public (and that people who are cunning enough to get into powerful government positions often come from industry) is exactly why the law is lettered that way in the first place.
If you think you get to a position anywhere close to where these guys are by being a jeopardizing valuable relationships in the name of doing-things-in-the-spirit-of-selfless-public-service, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'm looking to sell. Good price, too, shoot me a PM.
You're also missing that the executives personal interest dont per-se align with those of their parent. So its quite possible for an individual to undermine both the public and his employer with a single go.
Various rogue executives illustrate this point without much recourse to google. But say nick leeson at baring kind of jumps out, and then the scale of what was seen in the past 5-7 years makes that look like childs play.
You might also find this "of intellectual interest"
But the issues are far deeper--extending for many years and at many levels--more than just a single example taken out of context.
Can you double-check your link? I tried following it but it just links to this thread.
Well, the obvious answer being that she's a fool and needs to actually listen to people other than the people in her current network.
Besides that though, what if she really is?
What really galls me, however, is the circumstances. This isn't some low-level flunky taking a bribe under the table to move things along. This is a ranking official tasked specifically with overseeing the Comcast merger work, who should have known that they'd be subjected to extra scrutiny.
Also, interestingly, the FOIA response appears not to have redacted the e-mail addresses of a number of very high-ranking public officials in the FTC and FCC.
I mean she asked, she said no. Regulators are there primarily to prevent abuse, not to replace either vicious competition or political oversight. So it's going to be cozy.
However, the tone of the e-mail suggests that this is one event in a pattern, and that the size and unusual nature of the particular gift (how many times are you going to get to go to the Olympics?) is what prompted a discussion with "the rules folks".
Wouldn't you expect a good regulator with a "cozy" relationship to already know what's in and out of bounds? That seems like it would be part of their job, without needing to consult the rules people.
But perhaps I'm being too uncharitable, and both sides should get the benefit of the doubt. I'm willing to concede I might be reading in between the lines too much.
It's kind of hard to see how it could work any other way. Suppose, for example, we want someone to head the FAA. It seems obvious you want someone with a vast knowledge of the aviation industry.
Are there really many people who have that vast knowledge and are NOT working in the aviation industry? We're basically supposed to look for someone whose career has nothing to do with aviation, but has somehow, perhaps as a hobby, become one of the country's top aviation industry experts?