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Weird phone call to Grassley about LightSquared

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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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