Grassley Blocks FCC Nominees Over LightSquared

Nov 4 2011 | 10:25am ET

Harbinger Capital Management's chief nemesis on Capitol Hill is doing some very senatorial foot-stamping over the refusal by both the hedge fund and the Federal Communication Commission to hand over documents.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who has been leading an investigation into ties between the White House, LightSquared, the wireless venture backed by Harbinger, and Harbinger founder Philip Falcone, said he would block votes on two nominees to the FCC.

The move will not prevent the FCC from doing its job with just three members, but it gave Grassley another chance to blast the agency for continuing "to stonewall a document request I submitted." The FCC told Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee that it only responds to document requests from committee chairmen.

That policy "sets a dangerous precedent for a federal agency to unilaterally set the rules on how it engages with Congress," Grassley complained.

Grassley has led a probe into the FCC's approval of LightSquared's application for a crucial waiver. The senator has said he believes that the agency failed to consider all points of view on the issue, notably that of the global positioning system community, which has warned of major interference issues.

Last month, LightSquared and Harbinger declined Grassley's request for documents, complaining that Grassley hasn't made similar requests from LightSquared opponents.

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