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Grassley Seeks GPS Info

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) continues to try to collect information from the relevant parties about the FCC's waiver to would-be 4G wholesale wireless broadband provider LightSquared, this time from GPS companies. And according to Grassley's letter to the companies, he has assurances from all that they will comply.

But that still won't be sufficient to remove the hold threat on two new FCC commissioners the senator has pledged until he gets the information from the FCC he has also been seeking.

The senator, concerned about the services potential to interfere with GPS, was rebuffed by the FCC when he asked for internal documents about the waiver process, and by LightSquared and parent, Harbinger Capital, when he asked them for documents regarding their communications with the FCC and Obama Administration.

He has now asked for info from Garmin, Trimble and John Deere, explaining that was because LightSquared and Harbinger had denied his request because he had not made similar requests of the GPS community that opposes LightSquared's waiver.

Grassley says that LightSquared and Harbinger have now agreed to supply documents, but so far have offered up only some of them.

Grassley says he wants the GPS info in the interests of transparency and "is not aware of any allegations" concerning communications between GPS companies and the FCC. He wants an answer -- constituting all records of communications with the White House, Commerce and the FCC -- by Jan. 25.

So, does that mean that Grassley's hold threat would be lifted, since he will be getting FCC and administration documents, only from the other parties rather than the FCC?

No, says a Grassley staffer. "Sen. Grassley will continue to seek documents from the FCC even if all of the other documents come through," said the staffer, "even if the companies provide documents, he still would like to see internal FCC correspondence. The public's business ought to be public and the FCC should respond to Congress in the public interest. So, his hold on the nominees will continue until the FCC produces documents."

The FCC declined to provide the documents, with the chairman signaling it was because the request had not come from the chairs of one of the FCC oversight committees.