Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been holding up final Senate consideration of two nominees for FCC commissioner positions in a dispute with the Commission over documents and other things related to the LightSquared proceeding. The FCC is countering that it is merely following long-standing precedent in its dealings with the senator.
According to Hillicon Valley, the FCC says that it has allowed Grassley’s staff to have access to FCC employees to discuss the matter, although not necessarily all of the staff that Grassley wishes to have access to.
One FCC staffer is high on Grassley’s list as a former LightSquared employee, but the FCC says there is no chance the staffer in question — Josh Gottheimer – had any influence on the proceeding since he was not working for the FCC when the LightSquared project was at least temporarily forwarded. It is dead in its tracks at the moment, having failed to overcome harmful interference hurdles.
Finally, the FCC said is following long-standing guidance from Congress itself under which it only deals with members of relevant committees, notably the two Commerce committees. Grassley serves prominently on the Judiciary Committee.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has requested LightSquared documents from the FCC, and is expected to share them with Grassley. It is believed this event may finally induce the Senator to remove his hold on the nominations.
The two commissioner candidates are Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai.