LightSquared received preferential FCC treatment

February 21, 2012

Documents show the Federal Communications Commission provided broadband company LightSquared with favorable regulatory decisions, reports the Daily Caller:

Documents and copies of communications obtained by The Daily Caller indicate that the Federal Communications Commission propped up broadband company LightSquared with favorable regulatory decisions and other special treatment, while driving its competition out of business.

In August 2008, Wall Street hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, owned by longtime Republican political donor Philip Falcone, sought to buy a majority stake in the satellite company SkyTerra — the company that would later become LightSquared. On June 27 of that year, just before Falcone’s Harbinger Capital sought FCC approval for that purchase, Falcone donated $28,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But on Sept. 3, 2008, $20,000 of that donation was returned for an unknown reason.

The donation was unusual for Falcone: He had only donated to Democrats in and around New York City over the past decade, and he had a long record of donating to Republicans, including to George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns in 1999 and 2004. But Falcone’s DSCC contribution was the first in what would become a pattern of major Democratic donations in the coming months and years.

Last week, the F.C.C. revoked its conditional approval of the LightSquared broadband wireless network project, because it would interfere with GPS technology. The F.C.C. had approved the project in 2011.