...LightSquared employs an army of eight high-powered lobbying firms, including one headed by former Democratic House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt. In 2011 alone, LightSquared spent $720,000 on lobbyists.
Quoting Rep. Turner, Lake reported:
“There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias his testimony,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said in an interview. “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.”
iWatch, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, has conducted an exhaustive investigation of LightSquared and its high-level Obama connections. They found that in addition to the president, Donald Gips — Obama’s former personnel chief — had $500,000 invested in LightSquared. Gips raised half a million dollars as a “bundler” for the president’s 2008 campaign, and now has the politically coveted position of U.S. ambassador to South Africa.
iWatch also had harsh words for Obama’s head of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski. Genachowski also was one of Obama’s biggest fundraisers, bundling $500,000 for Obama’s presidential run. Under his chairmanship, the FCC granted special rulings and waivers to allow LightSquared to operate.
Falcone and his company also made major contributions to the FCC while his case was pending before the commission. In September 2010, LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja made a $30,400 contribution to the Democratic Party, the maximum donation allowable by law. Falcone twice gave the maximum allowable.
iWatch traced LightSquared payments to contacts within the administration. On September 22 Ahuja met with James Kohlenberger, Obama’s chief of staff for the White House Office of Science and Technology. A day later Ahuja gave $30,400 to the Democratic National Committee. A week later, on September 30, Falcone and his wife reportedly each gave $30,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“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 D.C. next week for a fundraising dinner with the president.” The email was one of 300 emails obtained by iWatch....