FCC chair won't appear at LightSquared hearing (Updated)

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Amid increased scrutiny over the government’s handling of LightSquared’s satellite venture, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission did not appear at a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing Sept 15 on GPS interference posed by the firm.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) rebuked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski for choosing not to appear before the strategic armed forces subcommittee. “I consider the chairman's failure to show up today to be an affront to the House Armed Services Committee,” Rep Turner said. He said he wanted to hear personally why the FCC agreed to a conditional waiver for LightSquared. The hearing comes after reports by The Daily Beast and the Center for Public Integrity show connections between the White House and the satellite venture backed by billionaire Democratic supporter Philip Falcone.

Update:

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski did not refuse to testify before a House Armed Services subcommittee panel, according to FCC spokeswoman Tammy Sun. "The subcommittee invited the Chairman or a designee; they agreed to a designee," said Sun. FCC Office of Engineering and Technology Chief Julius Knapp testified. "The Chairman never refused to testify nor did his staff make any such suggestions."

LightSquared Chairman Sanjiv Ahuja weighed in on allegations that LightSquared's friends in high places helped grease the skids in Washington. "It's difficult to charge that LightSquared has undue political influence when it was denied the opportunity to testify at [Thursday's] hearing of the House Armed Service Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee," he said, "or even be allowed a one-on-one meeting with the chairman of that committee prior to the hearing, as the GPS industry was given."

"This is a private company that has never taken one dollar in taxpayer money. About $10,600 sits in the LightSquared PAC. The founder of LightSquared has given to candidates in both political parties in the last eight years, with two thirds of his contributions going to Republicans because of the founder's free market philosophy," he said in a statement. "I gave $30,400 in contributions to both parties in late 2010."


FCC chair won't appear at LightSquared hearing FCC Chair Did Not Refuse to Testify, Says Spokesperson (B&C)