Gen. Shelton White House: White House Pressured General to Alter Testimony: Large Donations Made: EMail Favors Requested

Four-star General William Shelton says the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to be more favorable toward the company LightSquared, to keep LightSquared’s majority owner and large Democrat donor, Philip Falcone happy. Falcone runs Harbinger Capital Management, a New York hedge fund. In the mix, are emails showing LightSquared had email conversations with the White House requesting meetings and reminding of its past fundraising for Democrats. On the day LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja made a $30,400 donation to the Democrat party, he also asked via emails, again, for meetings with Obama’s top technology advisers. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been trying to get copies of emails between Falcone, the FCC and LightSquared since April. None have been released to Grassley but the last portion of this post will direct you to the emails concerning campaign donations from LightSquared.

Philip Falcone

Falcone has $3 Billion invested in LightSquared and says he can fix 99.5% of the problems with interference with GPS systems, believed to affect “tractors, high-tech air-traffic control and the military,” which are the problems the Pentagon and General Shelton are concerned about. Read more about the technology here.

The FCC granted LightSquared preliminary approvals on Jan. 26 but early tests of the system, which uses spectrum reserved mainly for satellite services, found it interfered with global positioning systems. The regulator asked LightSquared to file a report on a possible solution by July 1.

The FCC’s reaction to LightSquared’s plea could go a long way to determine Falcone’s fate as a hedge fund honcho or has-been. The self-described hockey nut and minority owner of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild made his name betting against subprime mortgage loans in 2007.

That play helped him grow his hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Management, to a whopping $26 billion at its peak, and to bring Falcone and his wife, Lisa Marie, to New York society fame, including gracing the pages of Vanity Fair.

The Daily Beast:

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, officials said…

The FCC license has come under scrutiny because technical experts have warned that LightSquared’s proposal to build tens of thousands of ground stations for a wireless network could drown out the GPS signal.

On Tuesday, the FCC issued a public notice stating that LightSquared may not move forward on establishing its wireless service until further testing proves the GPS would not be harmed.

Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH), Chairman House Armed Services subcommittee:

There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias his testimony. The only people who were involved in the process in preparation for the hearing included the Department of Defense, the White House, and the Office Management and Budget.

LightSquared says they have not received a copy of the General’s prepared remarks. The White House says everything that was done was “routine” and “not political.” We learned today that 29 pages of Obama’s yet-to-be introduced Jobs bill contains sweeping broadband legislation.

Obama’s American Jobs Act would spend $10 billion to build the public safety network and expand broadband access to 98 percent of Americans but would raise $28 billion from spectrum auctions, according to a White House fact sheet. Source: The Hill

Senator Jay Rockefeller (R-WV) is praising Obama’s “public safety network.” You’ll remember that Rockefeller called for shutting down Fox News. 

In another matter, the White House is accused of fast-tracking a $535 Million loan guarantee from the Obama Stimulus, to allow a company they knew was on thin ice financially to receive the funds – which they did. The taxpayers lost big-time.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said the FCC is trying to “fast track” LightSquared, as well.

“The FCC’s fast-tracking of LightSquared raises questions about whether the government is rushing this project at the expense of all kinds of other things, including national security and everyone who uses GPS, from agriculture to emergency medical technicians,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). “Without transparency, and with media coverage of political connections in this case, there’s no way to know whether the agency is trying to help friends in need or really looking out for the public’s interest.”

iWatch has the email and campaign donation story. There are more than 300 pages of documentation detailing LightSquared’s attempts to meet with the White House:

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 .

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 .

“Hi Aneesh!” LightSquared representative Dave Kumar wrote to Aneesh Chopra , the president’s chief technology adviser on Sept. 23, 2010. “I touched base with my client Sanjiv Ahuja and he expressed an interest in meeting with you…He is going to be in DC next week for a fundraising dinner with the President.”

Earlier that same day, LightSquared lawyer Henry Goldberg wrote to James Kohlenberger, then chief of staff for the White House Office of Science and Technology. His email said:

“You may recall that you met with Sanjiv Ahuja about a year ago, with Phil Falcone of Harbinger, as Phil & Sanjiv were finalizing their plans for a new wireless broadband network…

“Sanjiv will be at a fund-raiser dinner with the President on September 30 and would like to visit with you, perhaps Tom Kalil, and Aneesh Chopra, if at all possible.”

If you are interested in this story, take a look at Charles Krauthammer saying the Solyndra connection is Lemon Socialism (the definition of which is chilling but an exact definition of Obama and Solyndra), and Senator Jim DeMint staying Obama is a Venture Socialist.

Posted by Maggie @ Maggie’s Notebook