FCC hands over LightSquared files

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has provided thousands of internal documents to House Republicans who are investigating LightSquared.

The records given to the House Energy and Commerce Committee are related to the FCC's review of the wireless start-up. Republicans have questioned whether the company received special treatment from the Obama administration.   

The FCC granted LightSquared a conditional waiver last year to move forward with plans for a nationwide 4G network, but the agency now plans to block the network after tests showed it would interfere with GPS devices, including ones used by airplane pilots.

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House Republicans questioned why the FCC allowed LightSquared to get as far as it did in the regulatory process, and last month demanded all of the agency's records on the company — including test results and communications with the company, its investors and GPS companies.

An FCC spokeswoman said the agency turned over 13,000 pages of documents and "will continue to cooperate" with the Republican probe.

The documents could also be a step towards ending an impasse over President Obama's two nominees to the FCC.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has pledged to block a vote on the nominees, Ajit Pai and Jessica Rosenworcel, until he receives the FCC's records on its review of LightSquared. Because of Grassley's hold, the five-member commission has been operating with only three commissioners since the beginning of the year.

The FCC declined to provide any documents to Grassley, citing a policy against responding to requests from lawmakers who do not serve on committees with jurisdiction over the agency. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the House panel with authority over the FCC.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), one of the lawmakers leading the House's probe, has said he plans to share any documents he receives from the FCC with Grassley.

Grassley told The Hill earlier this month that he will only lift his hold if he does not have any questions for the FCC after reviewing the documents from the House investigation.

Some Republicans have questioned whether the FCC and the White House showed inappropriate favoritism to LightSquared. Last September, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) accused Obama of "crony capitalism" for allegedly giving favor to his political supporters, pointing to Philip Falcone, who has invested billions of dollars in the company. 

Falcone has donated to both Democrats and Republicans in recent years and says he is a registered Republican. He has denied any attempts to influence the process through political connections. 

The White House and the FCC have denied giving any special treatment to LightSquared.