LightSquared CEO made curious max donation to DNC while seeking White House audience
Published: 12:37 PM 02/24/2012 By Matthew Boyle - The Daily Caller
Broadband company LightSquared’s CEO made a maximum-allowable political donation to the Democratic Party on the same day his lawyers were trying to arrange a meeting between him and top White House technology officials, records and emails obtained by The Daily Caller show. Those same records also show a questionable inconsistency, listing the CEO’s employer as a company he hadn’t worked for in a decade.
The requests and donation came soon after President Barack Obama’s Federal Communications Commission successfully propped up LightSquared, and subsequently demolished its competitor GlobalStar with regulatory muscle.
Nine days after the FCC denied a waiver-extension request, effectively disabling GlobalStar from being able to continue operating in the field, LightSquared’s attorney Henry Goldberg emailed Obama’s White House science and technology chief of staff Jim Kohlenberger to request a meeting. Goldberg wanted Kohlenberger, White House chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra and Tom Kalil, the White House’s deputy director for policy in the office of science and technology policy, to meet with LightSquared’s new CEO, Sanjiv Ahuja.
In the September 23, 2010 email, Goldberg points out that Ahuja would be attending a fundraiser for Obama in the following week.
“In any event, Sanjiv will be at fund-raiser dinner with the President on September 30 and would like to visit with you, perhaps Tom Kalil, and Aneesh Chopra, if it is at all possible,” Goldberg wrote to Kohlenberger, after explaining the status of LightSquared’s network.
Later that day, one of Goldberg’s law firm partners, Dave Kumar, emailed Chopra himself to reiterate the request for a meeting between him, Kalil, Kohlenberger and Ahuja. Kumar also points out how Ahuja was “going to be in DC next week for a fundraising dinner with the president.”
Also on Sept. 23, 2010, Ahuja made a $30,400 donation to the Democratic National Committee. Though he had been LightSquared’s CEO since July of 2010, the Daily Caller has learned that Ahuja’s occupation and employer were curiously listed on the official Federal Election Commission records as “President & CEO” of “Telecordia [sic].” According to a BusinessWeek profile, Ahuja was the president of “Telcordia Technologies” only from 1996 to 2000.