Sen. Grassley Wants More LightSquared Info


Sen. Charles Grassley's hold on two Federal Communications Commission nominees continues pending more info from the FCC, the legislator indicated in a statement from a spokesperson, He has also made a new information request from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

"On Friday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee shared with Senator Grassley the first set of documents provided by the FCC," a Grassley spokesperson said in a statement. "According to the FCC, the documents all have been previously released through the Freedom of Information Act."

The Grassley spokesperson said the FCC indicated as much in the cover letter to the three-disk document drop.

"Therefore, Senator Grassley's hold on the FCC nominees will continue until the FCC demonstrates its commitment to comply with the House committee's request and produce new, internal documents," the statement continued.

The documents, some 13,000 pages worth, relate to the FCC's grant of a waiver to LightSquared to launch a wholesale wireless broadband network, a waiver the FCC plans to rescind due to interference issues with GPS.

Grassley indicates he continues to work with House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and others on that House committee to "obtain internal FCC documents that have not been previously released."

If so, the senator continued to suggest, "this process will lead to more transparency from the FCC that will help to hold the commission accountable and allow the FCC commissioner nominees to move forward."

The FCC did not provide the documents at Grassley's behest, since he is not the chairman of a relevant committee.

Upton is, and agreed to share the documents with Grassley.

Separately, Grassley, joined by Rep. Michael Turner, has asked NTIA for an accounting of how much taxpayer money went to test LightSquared for GPS interference. "The federal government spent millions of taxpayer dollars on testing for a project that moved along only because the government gave approvals before resolving interference questions," they said in a statement. "Now, taxpayers are on the hook for the testing that showed that the project interfered with government devices using global positioning systems. The executive branch needs to account for just how much taxpayer money it spent and why."

Among the questions they want answered is whether the FCC has ever asked NTIA to provide government resources without reimbursement to "assist a single private company with its business plans."

They want answers by April 19.

The FCC had no comment on the NTIA letter. As to the documents the FCC has turned over, an FCC official said: "The fact is that thousands of pages of documents that the commission gave to the committee contain confidential information that is not in the public domain." The official would not comment on whether that also meant some of the documents had not already been released per various FOIA requests.