Friday, September 16, 2011

Republicans Want Investigation of Phil Falcone/Harbinger Capital Partners Favorite, LightSquared

Not sure if there's any there, there.
Unlike Solyndra, LightSquared sounds less like a Dem scandal and more like a fishing expedition by the Repubs.
From The Hill's Hillicon Valley blog:
Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces subpanel, called Thursday for an investigation of whether the White House inappropriately intervened to support wireless startup LightSquared.

“In my capacity as a member of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, I will be asking Chairman [Darrell] Issa [(R-Calif.)] and ranking member [Edolphus] Towns [(D-N.Y.)] to promptly investigate this matter,” Turner said at a subcommittee hearing Thursday.

LightSquared plans to provide high-speed wholesale wireless service nationwide through a network of satellites and land-based cell towers, but tests earlier this year revealed it interferes with GPS devices, including those used by the military.

One of the major investors in LightSquared is prominent Democratic donor, Philip Falcone.
The Daily Beast reported Thursday that the White House asked Air Force Gen. William Shelton to alter his planned remarks to lawmakers and their staff in a secured briefing about LightSquared.
According to the report, Shelton was pressured to change his testimony to show he supported the White House's policy to expand wireless broadband access and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the GPS interference issues with more testing within 90 days.

The Center for Public Integrity reported Wednesday that LightSquared sent emails to White House aides, at times mentioning its fundraising for Democrats and President Obama....MORE
In other "Falcone and LightSquared probably lean Democrat" news:

Former Sen. Dorgan joins wireless startup
Telecommunications startup LightSquared announced Thursday that former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and other retired lawmakers will serve on the advisory board of a new initiative to resolve problems with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology in rural areas.

Dorgan will serve on the board with former Reps. George Nethercutt (R-Wash.) and Charlie Stenholm (D-Texas). Dorgan retired last year after serving three terms in the Senate....MORE
Here's some backround via Market Folly:

Phil Falcone & Harbinger's 4G Wireless Network Bet: LightSquared
Philip Falcone's hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners has invested $2.9 billion into private 4G wireless network: LightSquared. We've detailed Harbinger's 4G bet before, but Falcone yesterday was interviewed by Maria Bartiromo from the Delivering Alpha Conference.

His whole goal with this venture is to bring powerful wireless broadband to rural areas in an attempt to essentially blanket America with coverage. He says that the future is all about smartphones and tablets, and those devices need access to wireless networks.

Too Big of a Bet?

Critics have said that Harbinger has essentially morphed into a private equity fund or venture firm by allocating so much capital to one private investment. Falcone addresses this by saying that there's "a real asset here" as he first started looking at it five or six years ago....MORE, including video