Phil Falcone’s lightsquared just got terminated by nine Federal agencies, as we noted here. We also noted that lightsquared could be the the biggest scandal in decades. Now Senator Charles E. Grassley is claiming that Phil Falcone went even further to get the FCC approve lightsquared.
The letter is below, followed by emails to and from Mr. Falcone
January 23, 2011
Mr. Philip Falcone
Harbinger Capital Partners
450 Park Avenue 30th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Dear Mr. Falcone:
On January 6, 2012, at approximately 12:45 p.m., a member of my staff who is
investigating the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) decision to grant a waiver to LightSquared, a company owned by your hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Partners, received a phone call from Mr. Todd Ruelle of Fine Point Technologies. 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.
My staff immediately told Mr. Ruelle that his comments raised red flags, that my only goal in this inquiry was to gather the facts, and that he should cease any further contact with my office. Following this conversation, my staff contacted the Senate ethics committee regarding his rejection of Mr. Ruelle’s unseemly invitation to discuss a quid pro quo and was advised that it was appropriate to avoid further contact with him.
In the course of his phone call to my staff, Mr. Ruelle indicated that while he had not yet been paid by you or Harbinger Capital Partners, he had been offering you advice regarding LightSquared’s negotiations with me and the FCC. Mr. Ruelle stated that he did not appreciate the involvement of lawyers and suggested that you directly ask to meet with me, which you then did.
In addition to this comment, he also told my staff that he had booked you for an appearance on Fox News. A recent FOIA request made public by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) yielded an e-mail from Mr. Ruelle to a federal employee forwarding his e-mails to Fox News bookers where he arranged for you to appear on the Fox News Channel. In this e-mail chain, Mr. Ruelle writes to the federal employee, in reference to your appearance in which you rebutted charges of political influence with the Obama administration and the FCC. Mr. Ruelle wrote: “I have arranged to hit back HARD!” After that email, the government employee asked Mr. Reuelle not to contact him in the future.
The day that Mr. Ruelle contacted my office, January 6, my staff contacted your attorney seeking information on the nature of the relationship between you and Mr. Ruelle. More than two weeks later, despite repeated questions, we have yet to receive a response. Accordingly,please answer the following questions in writing no later than January 30, 2012:
1. Does Todd Ruelle have any contractual relationship with you, Harbinger Capital
Partners, or Lightsquared? Has he ever had any such contractual relationship? If
so, please explain the terms of the agreement in detail and produce copies of all
records relating to the agreement.
2. Is it true that Mr. Ruelle “gets paid if the deal goes through?” If so, please
explain in detail how much he will be paid and by whom.
3. Why was Mr. Ruelle involved in arranging for your appearance on Fox News?
4. Please describe in detail your communications with Mr. Ruelle regarding
LightSquared, Harbinger Capital Partners, or my office and provide all records
relating to those communications and any other communications with employees
or representatives of Harbinger Capital Partners.
Thank you for your cooperation and attention in this matter. If you have any questions,
please do not hesitate to contact Jason Foster for the Committee on the Judiciary at (202) 224- 5225.
Charles E. Grassley
Committee on the Judiciary