Monday, March 25, 2013

"Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out"

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Senator Chuck Grassley was not happy with the tenure of   Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, and did not mince words upon Genachowski's departure as head of that office recently:
"...The FCC’s stonewalling over information on LightSquared was one of the worst instances I’ve seen in 30 years of dealing with federal agencies.  It took months of pressure and requests, a hold on two nominees, and the involvement of a House committee for the FCC to begin to share documents on the LightSquared decision.  Under Chairman Genachowski’s leadership, the FCC acted like a privileged organization that didn’t have to answer basic questions about its decision-making process..."
As a note of background on "Lightsquared"... from Wikipedia:
"...“On September 15, 2011, Representative Michael Turner (R-Ohio) asked the United States House Oversight and Government Committee to investigate LightSquared under the premise that the Federal Communications Commission waived a rule for LightSquared because Harbinger Capital's Philip Falcone had made sizable campaign contributions to President Barack Obama.[41] 
LightSquared responded to Congressman Turner’s letter by noting that “the size and scope of LightSquared’s network, including the number of towers it would be allowed to construct and the allowable power levels, were approved back on February 25, 2005 – under the Bush Administration.”[42] The Federal Election Commission has no record of Phil Falcone, a registered Republican, nor LightSquared Chairman and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja of having ever contributed to President Obama’s political campaigns.[43] 
However, since 2007, Philip Falcone has donated $50,500 to the Democratic Senatorial campaign Committee (and $85,500 to Republicans). Both Falcone's wife and LightSquared CEO Ahuja donated $30,400 to the DSCC (Ahuja gave the same amount to Republicans).[44][45] President Barack Obama himself invested $90,000 in LightSquared in 2005 but sold his stock for a $13,000 loss 8 months later.[46]..." 
Grassley's criticism continued:
"...It’s interesting to see outside groups criticizing Chairman Genachowski for failing to complete key priorities.  In my experience over LightSquared, the FCC wasted a lot of time playing games to avoid answering my basic questions.  The time spent on obfuscation could have been spent on productive activities for consumers and the economy.  The next FCC chairman should scrap the mindset of an elite, closed shop and embrace the commission’s status as a public entity, accountable to the public and the legislative branch, especially on matters of basic oversight..."
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