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LightSquared Files Bankruptcy After Network Blocked

LightSquared Inc. filed for bankruptcy, saying it will seek to resolve the concerns of U.S. regulators who thwarted the company’s plan to deliver high-speed wireless to as many as 260 million people.

LightSquared, based in Reston, Virginia, listed assets of $4.48 billion and debt of $2.29 billion as of Feb. 29 in a Chapter 11 filing yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The filing followed intense negotiations with creditors, who had requested that the company’s backer, Philip Falcone, step aside. Falcone and the current management team will remain with the company, Terry Neal, a LightSquared spokesman, said yesterday.

Bankruptcy “is intended to give LightSquared sufficient breathing room to continue working through the regulatory process that will allow us to build our 4G wireless network,” Chief Financial Officer Marc Montagner said in a statement. Reaching agreements with U.S. agencies may take as long as two years, he said in court papers.

Harbinger Capital Partners, Falcone’s New York-based hedge fund, had invested about $3 billion in LightSquared and owned about 74 percent of it as of Jan. 27. Falcone also had served on LightSquared’s board. Creditors asked for Falcone’s departure when they gave the company a weeklong extension on April 30 to stave off a default and keep trying to renegotiate its debt, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

LightSquared’s bankruptcy underscored tensions between the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications business, which is seeking more flexibility in how it uses airwaves. AT&T Inc. (T) Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson has blamed the FCC for not acting quickly enough to approve the acquisition and use of spectrum, creating a logjam for the industry.

‘Quick Profit’

Yesterday’s bankruptcy filing wasn’t an “option the company embraced quickly or easily, but it was necessary to protect LightSquared against creditors who were looking for a quick profit,” Falcone said in a statement. “We remain committed to our original mission, and I remain steadfast in my belief that a path forward exists that will satisfy and benefit all constituencies.”

LightSquared last week received a second weeklong extension from creditors, delaying a potential bankruptcy, a person with knowledge of the matter said at the time. Bondholders, including Carl Icahn, Andrew Beal and David Tepper earlier gave Falcone a deadline of April 30 to revisit a waiver that avoided triggering a technical default on its debt.

Icahn sold his $250 million in LightSquared debt holdings, Reuters reported May 6. Icahn received about 60 cents on the dollar for the holdings on May 3, after originally paying about 40 cents on the dollar months earlier, Reuters said, citing unidentified sources. Dish Network Corp. (DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen, meanwhile, acquired $350 million of the debt, the New York Post reported.

FCC Approval

Falcone’s plan for LightSquared depended on winning FCC approval to convert airwaves originally designated for satellite service to spectrum for land-based radio towers. LightSquared invested $4 billion in airwaves and reached deals with more than 30 partners, including Best Buy Co. (BBY)

LightSquared hit a roadblock in February when the FCC said it would withdraw preliminary approval for the company’s network after government tests found that the signals would interfere with global-positioning systems.

The decision followed a yearlong lobbying fight between LightSquared and GPS users and providers. The Coalition to Save Our GPS, a group formed to oppose LightSquared’s plans, included package shippers FedEx Corp. (FDX) and United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), GPS-unit maker Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) and farm-gear maker Deere & Co. (DE)

Falcone said April 4 that he was considering bankruptcy for LightSquared, though he would rather get the government to swap his spectrum for that controlled by the U.S. Defense Department.

‘No Mitigation’

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration advised the FCC on LightSquared’s proposed system. In February, NTIA’s administrator sent a letter to the FCC chairman saying there were “no mitigation strategies that both solve the interference issues and provide LightSquared with an adequate commercial network deployment.”

The opinion to block the approval caused a cascade of events for LightSquared. On March 16, Sprint ended an 11-year agreement to build, operate and share the network and compete with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless. LightSquared paid Sprint $310 million in advance and Sprint said in a securities filing Feb. 27 that it would return $65 million of the payments.

LightSquared had originally agreed to pay Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint $9 billion for the network duties and issue an additional $4.5 billion in service credits. The deal hinged on approval from the FCC.

On Feb. 28, Chief Executive Officer Sanjiv Ahuja resigned and the company appointed Falcone to the board as it began a search for a new CEO. LightSquared also cut 45 percent of its 330-member staff to preserve cash.

Payment Skipped

Since then, LightSquared failed to pay a network partner Inmarsat Plc $29.6 million due March 31. The company previously skipped a payment of $56.3 million due in February. LightSquared says it withheld payment because work specified in the contract wasn’t completed.

Falcone began investing in LightSquared’s predecessor, SkyTerra Communications Inc., in 2005. Harbinger wrote down the value of its LightSquared position by 59 percent last year because of concerns about winning regulatory approval.

The case is In re LightSquared Inc., 12-12080, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).



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LightSquared CEO resigns amid revelations of his proximity to Obama

Matthew Boyle is reportingLightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday amid revelations of his company’s political proximity -- and his own closeness -- to the White House [euphemism for Obama] and Obama administration officials.
 
The Daily Caller first reported one week ago on emails and documents that indicate political ties and numerous meetings between LightSquared and Obama administration officials as the company was undergoing regulatory review.
 
Ahuja’s resignation comes after Obama’s FCC suspended conditional approval of a waiver LightSquared needed to complete its high-speed broadband network. Until two weeks ago, the company’s final approval appeared imminent.
 
Ahuja, who had never donated to Democrats before and has not since, gave the maximum allowable $30,400 contribution to the Democratic National Committee on the same day his lawyers were trying to arrange a meeting for him at the White House with top Obama technology adviser Aneesh Chopra and other officials.
 
In emails between Ahuja’s lawyers and White House officials Ahuja wanted to meet with, his lawyers pointed out that he would attend an Obama fundraiser on or about the same day he wanted the meeting.
 
In a statement accompanying the company’s announcement of Ahuja’s resignation, he made no mention of those revelations.
 
"During my tenure at LightSquared, we all worked tirelessly to create the nation’s first open wireless broadband network and provide consumers with a new wireless broadband experience," Ahuja said. "That work continues and I wish the company and its fine management team well as they work to achieve this important goal."

Continue reading here . . .


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Documents: LightSquared shaping up as the FCC’s Solyndra

On Sept. 22, 2009, according to White House visitor logs, Obama’s White House Science and Technology Policy chief of staff Jim Kohlenberger met with Falcone, Goldberg and Sanjiv Ahuja, who would later become LightSquared’s CEO. At the time, Ahuja was leading the broadband company Augere, a position he continues to hold. Augere is aimed at providing high-speed Internet service to underserved communities worldwide.

The very next day, SkyTerra and Harbinger signed their merger agreement, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

One week later, Falcone and his wife each donated the maximum legally allowed — $30,400 each — to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Then, on Oct. 23, 2009, SkyTerra filed a document with the FCC arguing that the agency should allow for Ancillary Terrestrial Component waivers to “make it easier for satellite operators to team with strategic partners and attract investment in this area.” SkyTerra was advocating that such waivers should be available industry-wide.

Three days later, according to documents The Daily Caller has obtained, FCC International Bureau Chief Mindel de la Torre invited the FCC’s Satellite Division chief, Ben Nelson, who he said had “been dealing with these [Skyterra] guys for a while,” to a meeting with “Priya [Aiyar] and the Skyterra gang.” Aiyar was Genachowski’s legal adviser.

That meeting occurred on Nov. 2, 2009. Then, on Nov. 5, 2009, Griboff from the FCC’s International Bureau met with Goldberg, from Harbinger’s law firm.

Similar meetings continued through the end of 2009 and into early 2010. One notable meeting occurred at the White House on Jan. 21, 2010, between Falcone, Goldberg and Obama’s science adviser, Kohlenberger.

Another meeting was a private, confidential presentation senior SkyTerra executives Carlisle, Epstein and Alex Good — the CEO — made to senior FCC staffers on March 12, 2010. More secretive meetings took place throughout early 2010 as well.

On March 22, 2010, SkyTerra’s shareholders approved the merger with Falcone’s Harbinger. Four days later, on March 26, 2010, FCC staffers approved the merger. Commissioners never got the opportunity to vote on the merger, a move that is uncommon for such a large-scale deal with far-reaching implications in the marketplace and in the federal wireless policy realm. Usually, with a decision this important, the FCC would elevate it from the bureaucratic staff level to the full Commission for approval.

Three days later, Epstein acquired several hundred thousand shares of SkyTerra stock, according to SEC filings. On April 5, 2010, Gips, a top Obama aide who later became the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, cashed in his stock options for about a half-million dollars.

One condition on the FCC’s final approval of the deal was that Harbinger’s new post-merger outfit — LightSquared, formerly SkyTerra — would not be allowed to provide spectrum to Verizon or AT&T, the nation’s two largest wireless carriers, without prior FCC approval. That condition was part of a confidential agreement Harbinger’s lawyers made with the FCC in a Feb. 26, 2010 letter. The confidential letter wasn’t made public until after the FCC’s bureaucrats approved Harbinger’s SkyTerra purchase.



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Uh Oh!

Grassley: LightSquared offered me a political “win” in exchange for backing down on FCC probe

The push for LightSquared’s FCC exemption had already become embarrassing for the Obama administration, but it might be about to turn toxic.  Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), who has pursued a probe of the FCC over its curious actions towards the company owned by big Democratic Party donor Philip Falcone, now claims in a press release earlier today that Falcone and another person offered inducements to Grassley to get him to back off of his efforts:

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today asked the principal behind the LightSquared wireless project to explain a questionable contact to Grassley’s office that intimated benefits for Grassley if he softened his inquiry of government approval of the project.

Grassley wrote to Philip Falcone of Harbinger Capital Partners, expressing concern that two separate incidents implied a desire to have Grassley “pull punches” in his investigation.  Grassley said he “won’t be a part of that.”  One contact came in an email from Falcone to Grassley’s office, saying that since LightSquared is already in the political “arena,” it could be made a “win” for Grassley, LightSquared, and the consumer.

The second contact was from someone who intimated that he represented LightSquared in a call to Grassley’s staff.  The individual, Todd Ruelle, said he “only gets paid if this deal goes through” and hinted that if LightSquared were allowed to proceed, Grassley’s home state of Iowa could get a “call center.”   Grassley’s office advised Ruelle not to contact the office further and called the Senate ethics committee regarding the contact.

There's more with response letters from Grassley here!



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Government officials warn that new plans for a national high-speed wireless broadband network would cause harmful interference with GPS signals. 

Defense and transportation officials say testing shows no practical solution to the threat posed by the network, planned by the Virginia company LightSquared

The officials wrote a letter released Friday by the Federal Aviation Administration. One concern is about potential interference with GPS-based navigation by airplanes. 

The letter was signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari. 

LightSquared has rights to use a section of the electromagnetic spectrum that abuts the part used by GPS.


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Uh Oh!  Watch out for those Mountains! Another failed test.

Today, a government technical group reviewed the findings from last month’s testing of LightSquared’s proposal to provide new broadband service.  The final test report will be sent to the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA), which advises the President on telecommunications policy, and represents federal agencies to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Preliminary analysis of the test findings found no significant interference with cellular phones. However, the testing did show that LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to the majority of other tested general purpose GPS receivers.  Separate analysis by the Federal Aviation Administration also found interference with a flight safety system designed to warn pilots of approaching terrain.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/12/15/lightsquared-flunks-again/


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No Further testing needed????

The saga of LightSquared added a new chapter last night, as Bloomberg reported on the preliminary result of tests of the satellite Internet provider’s service in relation to GPS devices.  The Obama administration has pushed LightSquared as a provider for its ambitious broadband expansion over the objections of the military, which warned that LightSquared’s operations would interfere with the satellite-based navigational system.  The draft summary of the November testing shows that the military was right to be concerned:

Philip Falcone’s proposed LightSquared Inc. wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of global-positioning system receivers examined in a U.S. government test, according to a draft summary of results.

The results from testing conducted Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 show that “millions of fielded GPS units are not compatible” with the planned nationwide wholesale service, according to the draft seen by Bloomberg News.

LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to majority of GPS receivers tested,” according to the draft prepared for a meeting next week of U.S. officials reviewing the LightSquared proposal. “No additional testing is required to confirm harmful interference exists.”

LightSquared, backed by $3 billion from Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, faces challenges from makers of global-positioning system devices who say the service will disrupt navigation by cars, boats, tractors and planes. U.S. regulators are withholding approval as they check on claims of interference.

If that was all there was to this story, then this would just be another commercial venture that struck out, with little interest outside the tech fields involved.  However, the overwhelming failure of LightSquared’s test puts allegations from last summer in a new light.  In September, four-star Air Force General William Shelton accused the White House of pressuring him in August to change his Congressional testimony to make his assessment of LightSquared more favorable.  Another Congressional witness told Eli Lake that the White House had “offered guidance” on how to testify favorably towards LightSquared.

Why is this important?  Philip Falcone is a big donor to the Democratic Party, and he has billions of dollars at stake in LightSquared’s approval.  Also, Obama himself was an investor in LightSquared at one point, as were or are a number of his associates.  The resounding failure in this test makes it look like the White House pressured witnesses to back off of exposing LightSquared’s product as exactly the kind of dangerous problem that critics had maintained all along — with the intent to mislead Congress into moving forward with LightSquared’s government contracts.

One amusing note: LightSquared announced two days ago that the same tests showed no problems at all.  After Bloomberg reported on the draft report, the company expressed outrage over the “leak” of “preliminary results.”  Yeah, we’re with you on the leak outrage, pal.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/12/10/lightsquared-disrupts-75-of-gps-receivers-in-govt-testing/

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No Further testing needed????

The saga of LightSquared added a new chapter last night, as Bloomberg reported on the preliminary result of tests of the satellite Internet provider’s service in relation to GPS devices.  The Obama administration has pushed LightSquared as a provider for its ambitious broadband expansion over the objections of the military, which warned that LightSquared’s operations would interfere with the satellite-based navigational system.  The draft summary of the November testing shows that the military was right to be concerned:

Philip Falcone’s proposed LightSquared Inc. wireless service caused interference to 75 percent of global-positioning system receivers examined in a U.S. government test, according to a draft summary of results.

The results from testing conducted Oct. 31 to Nov. 4 show that “millions of fielded GPS units are not compatible” with the planned nationwide wholesale service, according to the draft seen by Bloomberg News.

LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to majority of GPS receivers tested,” according to the draft prepared for a meeting next week of U.S. officials reviewing the LightSquared proposal. “No additional testing is required to confirm harmful interference exists.”

LightSquared, backed by $3 billion from Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, faces challenges from makers of global-positioning system devices who say the service will disrupt navigation by cars, boats, tractors and planes. U.S. regulators are withholding approval as they check on claims of interference.

If that was all there was to this story, then this would just be another commercial venture that struck out, with little interest outside the tech fields involved.  However, the overwhelming failure of LightSquared’s test puts allegations from last summer in a new light.  In September, four-star Air Force General William Shelton accused the White House of pressuring him in August to change his Congressional testimony to make his assessment of LightSquared more favorable.  Another Congressional witness told Eli Lake that the White House had “offered guidance” on how to testify favorably towards LightSquared.

Why is this important?  Philip Falcone is a big donor to the Democratic Party, and he has billions of dollars at stake in LightSquared’s approval.  Also, Obama himself was an investor in LightSquared at one point, as were or are a number of his associates.  The resounding failure in this test makes it look like the White House pressured witnesses to back off of exposing LightSquared’s product as exactly the kind of dangerous problem that critics had maintained all along — with the intent to mislead Congress into moving forward with LightSquared’s government contracts.

One amusing note: LightSquared announced two days ago that the same tests showed no problems at all.  After Bloomberg reported on the draft report, the company expressed outrage over the “leak” of “preliminary results.”  Yeah, we’re with you on the leak outrage, pal.

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/12/10/lightsquared-disrupts-75-of-gps-receivers-in-govt-testing/

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White House fingerprints on LightSquared scandal
 
Bob Beauprez is reporting that the newest Obama Administration scandal-de-jour, LightSquared, has quickly escalated to involve potentially "guided" testimony to two separate Congressional Committees.  Additionally, two witnesses have confirmed that the White House pressured them to alter testimony in favor of LightSquared, a Virginia broadband provider whose executives also made very large Democrat Party campaign contributions. 

Further, entire portions of the supposedly independent opinion submitted to a Congressional Oversight Committee regarding LightSquared from four separate government agencies contained "identical language in their written testimony" -- a truly remarkable coincidence.

The scandal erupted last week on Capitol Hill when Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) revealed that General William Shelton, Commander of the Air Force Space Command Center in Colorado Springs, told the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee that the White House tried to convince Shelton to alter his testimony to favor LightSquared's FCC application to establish a national wireless communications network.  Rep. Turner is Chairman of the Sub-Committee.

A second witness has now come forward, as well.  Anthony Russo, director of the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing told The Daily Beast, that the White House pushed him to alter his testimony to say that "the government's concerns about the project by the firm LightSquared could be resolved in 90 days."  That timetable, Russo understood, would be favorable to the company's FCC approval objectives.   But, Russo disagreed, believing testing would take at least six months, so he rejected the White House pressure -- he prefers to call it "guidance."  General Shelton was also "guided" to make the same reference to a mere 90 days testing period.

The growing LightSquared scandal shares a common denominator with the on-going investigations involving Solyndra -- the failed California solar energy company favored with a $535 million loan from the Department of Energy -- in addition to the questionable White House involvement.  In both cases major company principals were also large Democrat Party donors who got access to the White House brass. 

Philip Falcone, LightSquared's principle investor, and his wife each donated $30,400 to the Democratic Senate Committee a week after meeting with senior White House staff.  Falcone, a big money wheeler-dealer "who earned billions betting against the subprime mortgage market" is already under "tremendous scrutiny" in New York and Washington, according to The New York Times.  CEO Sanjiv Ahuja donated $30,400 to the Democratic National Committee on the same day that two other LightSquared employees contacted the White House for meetings with senior officials. 

Just as with the Solyndra scandal, questions are flying around Capitol Hill about whether these are just remarkable coincidences, or evidence of the pay-to-play politics in force at the White House.

The LightSquared application received conditional approval from the Federal Communications Commission in 2004, but concern about GPS interference has blocked the final go-ahead for seven years.   Company executives and the White House contend that satisfying remaining questions is a minor, quick-fix issue and clearly are trying to get concurrence from Congress by suggesting concerns could be resolved with just a 90 day test period.

But a former FCC commissioner says any reference to a testing period, short or long, is highly irregular.  According to Harold Furchtgott-Roth, a Clinton nominee to the FCC serving from 1997-2001, "Sometimes they (these types of tests) go on for long periods of time.  To pick a number and say the tests have to end by a certain date is not consistent with commission precedent."  He went on to state what seems obvious that, "you don't know what you will find when you do the test; you can't predetermine that you will absolutely be finished after 90 days." 

General Shelton and Director Russo apparently had the same reservations, and thus rejected the "guidance" from the White House. 

Continue reading here . . .


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And then Soros is linked in:
http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/article/soros-turns-obamas-lightsquared-imbroglio
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Just keeps getting closer.  MM has a detailed write up about this today.

As the House prepares to launch official investigations of both Solyndra and LightSquared, investigators need to look closely at exactly how the Obama FCC’s unusual January 2011 waiver for LightSquared promised the politically-connected company a stunning corporate windfall. The waiver gave the company a green light to use its initial satellite bandwidth license for “exclusive terrestrial purposes.” As the Telecom, Media and Finance Associates, Inc. blog explains, this meant that “the spectrum rights would be considered (and valued) as equivalent to terrestrial spectrum, allowing LightSquared to raise additional funds to build out its network. In fact that is exactly what LightSquared then proceeded to do, by raising $586M, secured against its spectrum assets, in February 2011.”

By the company’s own internal estimates and comparisons with other satellite spectrum transactions, the January 2011 waiver boosted the value of LightSquared’s spectrum assets by $10 billion more than two similarly situated mobile satellite service providers that had gone bankrupt.
http://michellemalkin.com/2011/09/21/lightsquared-obamas-dangerous-broadband-boondoggle/


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I swear to tell no truth, semitruth, and never the whole truth,acutally everything but the truth, so help me A...h. The BOath.
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Uh Oh!
"On Monday, a second witness, Anthony Russo, director of the National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing, told The Daily Beast that he too was asked by the OMB to insert the 90-day timeframe into his testimony before the House Science Committee, but he refused. The hearing originally was scheduled for Aug. 3, then rescheduled for Sept. 8."

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/09/20/white-house-offered-guidance-to-second-witness-in-lightsquared-inquiry/


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Air Force Space Command told to favor LightSquared



LightSquared plans to offer wholesale national mobile LTE broadband WiFi for companies such as VoX Communications among others. They await FCC approval for use of their network which also prevents companies like VoX Communications from running on their Network.

Four Star General William Shelton of Air Force Space Command told to favor LightSquared by White House.

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Barack Obama was an early investor in LightSquared

Ed Morrissey is reporting that earlier this week, Eli Lake reported that the four-star Air Force general in charge of US Space Command told a Congressional panel that the White House pressured him to change his testimony to favor a company that shelled out donations for Democrats.  LightSquared wants to press forward on a project that the military fears will create serious interference with GPS systems, and General William Shelton was going to address those concerns with Congress before the White House tried to push him into saying a few nice words on behalf of their sponsor. A reminder:

The four-star Air Force general who oversees U.S. Space Command walked into a highly secured room on Capitol Hill a week ago to give a classified briefing to lawmakers and staff, and dropped a surprise.  Pressed by members, Gen. William Shelton said the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to a large Democratic donor. …

According to officials familiar with the situation, Shelton’s prepared testimony was leaked in advance to the company.  And the White House asked the general to alter the testimony to add two points: that the general supported the White House policy to add more broadband for commercial use; and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days.  Shelton chafed at the intervention, which seemed to soften the Pentagon’s position and might be viewed as helping the company as it tries to get the project launched, the officials said.

As it turns out, LightSquared is more than just a Democratic donor.  The Lonely Conservative points us to a July 2011 article at The Huffington Post, in which it seems that Barack Obama himself has a personal interest in LightSquared:

When the Federal Communications Commission granted LightSquared Inc. expedited approval to launch a new wireless Internet service, some powerful voices in Washington expressed alarm, including the Pentagon and one-third of the U.S. Senate.

LightSquared’s bold $14 billion plan, its detractors said, could cripple GPS systems and threaten aviation safety, disrupt military and rescue operations and interfere with high-tech farming equipment and the everyday navigation devices used by millions.

  • Several major Democratic campaign contributors and longtime Obama supporters have held investments in the company and its affiliates during its tangled decade of existence.  They include Obama’s good friend and political donor Donald Gips, his former White House personnel chief, who now serves as U.S. ambassador to South Africa.  Records show that Gips maintained an interest, worth as much as $500,000, as the FCC was weighing LightSquared’s request.
  • Obama himself was an early investor and came to the presidency a firm believer in expanding broadband.  He remains close to other early investors, like Gips and investment manager George W. Haywood, inviting some to luxe social events at the White House and more intimate gatherings like a night of poker and beer.

Presidents put their investments into blind trusts when they take office in order to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest.  Well, most modern Presidents do, anyway.  It seems that Obama considers himself an exception to this rule, or at the very least he did until April 2010.  The Washington Post’s Michael Shear reported at that time that Obama had refused to establish a blind trust:

In fact, Obama has rejected the approach taken by most of his predecessors in the modern era.

His personal wealth -- which is rapidly growing -- is not shielded from his view.

Why not?

Officially, the answer is that Barack Obama wanted more transparency in his personal finances -- fitting in with his pledges to be the most open White House in history.

"The choice not to have a blind trust is an effort to be transparent about where his money is kept, and the public can see his latest financial disclosure documents, which we have made public and accessible on the Web site," a senior White House official said.

Well, sort of. The records are not on line, but the White House website does have a request page, which promises to send a PDF of the financial disclosure forms quickly.  I’ve requested a copy and will check to see whether Obama still holds any position with LightSquared.  I’m going to guess no, only because it appears from Shear’s article that Obama converted most of his holdings into bonds in order to avoid the blind trust.

However, as the HuffPo report notes, that’s not the only problem in this scenario.  It’s clear that even if Obama divested himself of LightSquared at some point, he has remained close to the other investors.  If the White House pressured Shelton in order to benefit these investors, then we need to find out whether Obama gave that order himself on behalf of his cronies.


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Wireless firm LightSquared pressed its case for government approval of a new national broadband network in numerous contacts with presidential aides, at times citing its fundraising for Democratic causes and President Obama, White House emails show.

On the day that LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja made a $30,400 contribution to the Democratic Party, two of his deputies appealed to the White House for meetings with top technology advisers to Obama, according to emails obtained by iWatch News

http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/09/14/6458/emails-show-wireless-firms-communications-white-house-campaign-donations-were-made



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"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson
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Reply with quote  #17 
The four-star Air Force general who oversees U.S. Space Command walked into a highly secured room on Capitol Hill a week ago to give a classified briefing to lawmakers and staff, and dropped a surprise. Pressed by members, Gen. William Shelton said the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to a large Democratic donor.

Now the Pentagon has been raising concerns about a new wireless project by a satellite broadband company in Virginia called LightSquared, whose majority owner is an investment fund run by Democratic donor Philip Falcone. Gen. Shelton was originally scheduled to testify Aug. 3 to a House committee that the project would interfere with the military’s sensitive Global Positioning Satellite capabilities, which control automated driving directions and missile targeting, among other things.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/09/15/lightsquared-did-white-house-pressure-general-shelton-to-help-donor.html

Uh Oh!  Popcorn anyone?

Keyword="Scandals"


__________________
"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Thomas Jefferson
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