Countrywide Probe is Chance for Ethics Committee to do ‘Something Significant’

Edolphus Towns photoIt appears that four current members of the United States House of Representatives received loans via the VIP program of Countrywide Financial Corporation. Once again the motives of the former giant mortgage institution have been brought into question. Where they trying to peddle influence with these loans?

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he has been investigating the VIP program for a number years. Issa reportedly learned about the four loans after issuing a subpoena to Bank of America. Countrywide was purchased by Bank of America in 2008 and was at the forefront of the financial crisis that came to a head that year. At one point Countrywide was the nation’s largest mortgage lender.

In 2009 the Security and Exchange Commission brought a fraud suit against a number of former executives of Countrywide including its former chief executive Angelo Mozilo. …

Will FCC’s Political Favor for LightSquared Result in GPS Interference?

Phil FalconeUnder extremely unusual circumstances, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently granted a company called LightSquared the right to use wireless spectrum to build out a national 4G wireless network. LightSquared will get the spectrum for a song, while its competitors have to spend billions.

Although the technical implications of the FCC action are complicated, how it came about is not. LightSquared is owned by the Harbinger Capital hedge fund, headed by billionaire investor Phil Falcone, in photo. Falcone visited the White House and made large donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

When established regulations and procedures are circumvented for political reasons, the result is often unintended consequences. When the Obama FCC appointees did the favor for Falcone, they probably had no idea that they might be creating severe technical problems for other users of wireless spectrum.

Now the Global Positioning System (GPS) industry is up in arms. According to …

Did Harbinger Hedge Fund Buy Influence With White House?; Probe Asked of FCC Spectrum Giveaway

Falcone photoToday we asked the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to investigate actions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that benefitted Harbinger Capital Partners after its founder Phil Falcone (at right) made large contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

As we describe in the letter to the Committee’s ranking members, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NJ):

The plan centered around first securing FCC approval for Harbinger’s acquisition of SkyTerra, then getting the FCC to “fast-track” approval for Harbinger to take advantage of a little-known spectrum loophole for satellite licenses.

That loophole allowed Falcone’s new company, called LightSquared, to receive spectrum for free, while competitors have to pay billions of dollars. Our letter details this arrangement, and Falcone’s efforts to make it happen. The full text appears below. Click here to download a 7-page pdf.


Dear Chairman Issa and Congressman Towns:

As …