Sen. Grassley to allow vote on FCC nominees despite LightSquared worries
Sen. Chuck Grassley had threatened to block a Senate vote on two nominees because the FCC would not give him documents
IDG News Service - U.S. Senator Charles Grassley plans to drop a hold he placed on two FCC nominees because of a tussle with the agency over documents related to its treatment of would-be hybrid mobile operator LightSquared.
Last year, Grassley had sought all the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's records about its dealings with LightSquared because of suspicions that the agency gave the company preferential treatment. The FCC would not hand the documents over to him because he doesn't sit on a committee that regulates it. In response, Grassley said he would block a full Senate vote on the nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai, who were proposed last November for empty seats on the commission but must still be confirmed by the Senate.
Subsequently, the House Energy and Commerce Commission asked for and received the documents and gave them to Grassley. On Friday, one year after his initial request, Grassley said he intends to drop his hold on the nominees.
Grassley was probing whether LightSquared, which wants to operate a 4G LTE mobile network next to the GPS frequency band, had traded political contributions for preferential treatment at the FCC. The Commission is part of the executive branch of government and led by Chairman Julius Genachowski, who was appointed by President Barack Obama. Grassley is a Iowa Republican.
The senator also raised concerns about a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe of Philip Falcone, the hedge-fund investor who is LightSquared's main financial backer.
In a statement on Friday, the senator veered away from his accusation of influence-peddling but raised a new concern, warning that the FCC should not be a "cheerleader" for certain proposed projects.
"So far, the documents I have seen begin to give some answers about why the FCC gave such fast preliminary approval to LightSquared," Grassley wrote. "The documents show that rather than being an objective arbiter, the commission appeared to be enthusiastic about the LightSquared project and wanted to see it materialize.
"It may be that the FCC was so intrigued by the prospect of a new broadband provider that it overlooked technical concerns or the financial implications if the project's chief investor were to undergo SEC sanctions," Grassley wrote.
Grassley said his investigation is not over because there are more documents to examine. "However, since there is now a process in place to obtain all of the relevant documents from the FCC, I intend to lift my hold on the two FCC nominees," Grassley wrote.
In February, the FCC said it would kill LightSquared's planned LTE network because tests showed it would interfere with GPS. "I hope the pending nominees, and the rest of the commission, will use the LightSquared situation as a case study in what not to do," he wrote.
- Mission Critical: Managing Mobile Applications & Content Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become embedded in enterprise processes, thanks to the consumerization of IT and a new generation of...
- Use the Mobile App Mix to Choose an Enterprise App Store Strategy In this research report Gartner outlines how organizations can optimally secure, distribute, and manage mobile applications for employees and contracted workers.
- The Case for Mobile Apps Today's mobile apps turn handheld devices into e-book readers, portable navigation systems, digital wallets and more. And for organizations with mobile workers, they...
- 5 Customers Deliver Virtual Desktops and Apps to Empower a Modern Workforce Learn how Citrix solutions helped 5 companies realize the full value of desktop virtualization through a project-by-project approach based on key business priorities.
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily... All Mobile Apps White Papers | Webcasts