LightSquared Fiasco Puts Harsh Spotlight on FCC’s Genachowski

Genachowski photoIn a major victory for the National Legal and Policy Center, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday reversed itself and revoked a controversial waiver it had granted LightSquared, which would have allowed the company to deploy a national wireless network. The reversal is not only a major setback for LightSquared’s billionaire owner Phil Falcone, but puts a harsh spotlight on the role of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

According to Cecelia Kang of the Washington Post Tech blog:

The FCC’s decision is expected to all but end LightSquared’s aspirations to provide mobile broadband services via satellite airwaves — a plan that was touted from its inception by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. Under his tenure, the FCC granted the company a key conditional waiver in January 2011 that was meant to help fast-track the network.

A friend of President Obama’s from Harvard Law School, Genachowski has brought a culture of wheeling …

SEC Cracking Down on LightSquared’s Falcone?

Phil Falcone photoBillionaire Phil Falcone, whose cozy relationship with the Obama Administration was first exposed by NLPC, may face civil fraud charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to a filing yesterday by Harbinger Group Inc., Falcone and two other directors have received “Wells Notices,” meaning that they are under investigation.

Falcone is the Chairman, CEO and primary investor in Harbinger Group Inc., a hedge fund. Reportedly, other Harbinger investors include Soros Fund Management. Harbinger owns LightSquared, which has received an unusual waiver from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy a national 4G wireless network.

Media reports have alleged that Falcone prevented some investors from withdrawing their money from the hedge fund during the financial crisis, while allowing others to do so. The Wall Street Journal reports today that one favored investor was  (surprise!) Goldman Sachs. One of the Harbinger directors who received a Wells Notice is Omar Asali, …