Some dot connecting from a columnist for the Washington Examiner:
Soros turns up in Obama’s LightSquared imbroglio
By Timothy P. Carney, Senior Political Columnist
September 21, 2011
As Republican lawmakers begin to dig into the White House’s cozy relationship with a startup wireless company and the wealthy Democratic donor who owns it, a new character has appeared on the story’s edges: liberal superdonor, conservative bete noire and controversial investor George Soros.
Soros reportedly invested in the telecom company LightSquared through a hedge fund, and many of the nonprofits he finances have backed LightSquared in regulatory and policy disputes…
LightSquared wants to compete with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to provide mobile broadband…
Harbinger Capital Partners, a hedge fund run by billionaire financier Philip Falcone, owns LightSquared, and deftly steered the company through some tricky regulatory waters (with would-be competitors AT&T and Verizon fighting him along the way) to get preliminary approval for its plan to start a high-speed broadband wireless network…
Gee, we wonder if concern for LightSquared might have caused the Department Of Justice to put the kibosh on the AT&T and T-Mobile merger? Which seems to have surprised the industry analysts. (But of course such things would never happen in this administration.)
Emails have surfaced showing LightSquared executives discussing donations to Obama’s campaign in policy conversations with White House officials.
Finally, there’s the eye-catching detail that another Obama donor, George Haywood, steered then-Sen. Obama to invest $90,000 in the company (then named SkyTerra) back in 2005.
In fact, according to a March 8, 2007 article in the New York Times: "Records show that [Obama’s] SkyTerra shares were bought the same day a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission supported the company’s effort to create a nationwide wireless network and caused a temporary spike in its stock price."
But that is probably just a coincidence. And, for the record, the New York Times article goes on to assure us that there was no conflict of interest. And Mr. Obama himself claims he sold the stock later at a loss.
LightSquared’s main lobbying firm is owned by Norman Brownstein, a major fundraiser for Obama’s 2008 nominating convention…
In the LightSquared affair, Soros shows up repeatedly.
First, Soros is reportedly an investor in LightSquared. The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2010: "In 2009, while some investors were asking for withdrawals, others were lining up to put money into Harbinger. They included Soros Fund Management, which during the past year became a significant new investor, say people familiar with the matter." …
By the way, this is such an insignificant detail, the Wall Street Journal didn’t even mention it until the final paragraph of their article about an SEC probe of LightSquared.
Additionally, the telecom- and tech-related liberal nonprofits Soros funds have gone to bat for LightSquared in its various policy fights. In April 2010, the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission backing Harbinger’s business plans and met with an FCC commissioner on the matter. Four groups that belong to that coalition received six-figure gifts from Soros’ Open Society Institute the year before.
Six months later, those four Soros-funded groups — Free Press, Media Access Project, the New America Foundation, and Public Knowledge — filed a joint comment backing LightSquared in a related regulatory matter…
More coincidence. Why is everyone so cynical? Mr. Soros would never use front groups to lobby for something that he wanted. (Cf. his efforts to legalize marijuana.)
This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, September 22nd, 2011. Comments are currently closed.