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Grassley Suggests FCC Hold Could Be Lifted If E&C Gets LightSquared Documents

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) signaled Tuesday that if the FCC provides the LightSquared documents requested by the House Energy & Commerce Committee, and he gets access to them, he could lift his hold threat on pending FCC nominees.

While his office had signaled that might not be enough, the senator said in a statement that his hold would remain in place "until I receive access to the documents I requested, whether that's from the FCC, the House Energy and Commerce Committee or the Senate Commerce Committee."

He said the hold would remain "since the FCC has refused my document request since last April, and it's too early to tell whether the FCC will comply with the House request."

"We will continue to cooperate with the Committee," said an FCC spokesperson in a statement, suggesting that those documents might be forthcoming.

The FCC declined to provide the documents to Grassley since he is not the chair of a relevant committee, a point Grassley made in his statement Tuesday.

"The FCC said it wouldn't give internal documents about LightSquared to any members of Congress except the chairmen of the two committees that oversee the FCC," said Grassley. "Now one of those two committee chairmen [Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chair of the house Energy & Commerce Committee] "is asking for internal documents. It will be hard for the agency to ignore this request. The House committee that's seeking information from the FCC is fulfilling its oversight responsibilities. As a federal agency, like all government agencies, the FCC should account for its actions. The House request is good news for accountability and transparency."

The FCC did put some LightSquared documents online in response to a FOIA request, but has suggested that if it produced documents for requests beyond committee chairs, it would have to do so for any of the 535 members of Congress.