Weird phone call to Grassley about LightSquared

John Moe Jan 24, 2012

This one has to do with the ongoing effort by the wireless company LightSquared to get approval from the government to begin operating a new national network that would ultimately involve both terrestrial and satellite signals. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has been leading a charge for further investigations into whether LightSquared received unfair support in getting waivers from the FCC to operate the terrestrial towers.

Now Grassley says he received a call from a man named Todd Ruelle who claimed to have a financial interest in the deal going through. Ruelle, says Grassley, offered the senator a deal. Grassley explained it in a letter sent to LightSquared’s Phillip Falcone:

Mr. Ruelle indicated that he “only gets paid if this deal goes through” and that “there will be a call center in the Midwest, possibly in Iowa, if this deal goes through.” This statement is of particular concern in light of your e-mail to my staff on October 5, 2011, which read in part, “The last thing I want to do is to make this more political than it already is. It doesn’t belong in that arena. However, since we are already there, I believe I can make this into a win for the Senator, Lightsquared and the consumer.”

Taken together, these two statements implied an invitation to pull punches in my investigation. I won’t be a part of that.

Falcone insists that Ruelle is not affiliated with LightSquared.


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