Iowa Senator Charles Grassley has accused the White House and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of catering to the lobbyists of the now-bankrupt wireless company LightSquared and of stonewalling his investigation into the case.
In a recent speech on the Senate floor, Grassley noted that LightSquared hired dozens of lobbyists, including a former governor and nine former members of Congress, to push for approval of its planned high-speed wireless network. But Grassley says while those lobbyists provided entry into the FCC and the White House, they couldn’t change the fact that LightSquared’s network couldn’t co-exist with GPS.
The FCC granted LightSquared a conditional waiver last year to develop the network, but later pulled the waiver and blocked the network after tests showed it would interfere with GPS devices. Many agricultural groups opposed the LightSquared plan, fearing it would interfere with farming GPS devices.
Grassley says he still wants to know why the FCC granted LightSquared the conditional waiver in the first place.
“It seems strange that a project that was so obviously flawed was allowed to go so far, but LightSquared had help,” Grassley said, pointing to the influential lobbyists.
The FCC has denied giving LightSquared any special treatment.