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"I want to see when the president and his cronies are picking winners and losers… it wasn't because there were large contributions given to them," the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Tuesday morning on C-SPAN.
TextThe Obama administration has been defending itself against criticism by Republicans that it exerted improper influence to the aid of both companies.
A second government official has come forward saying the White House tried to influence his testimony concerning a wireless broadband project backed by a Democratic donor that military officials fear might impair sensitive satellite navigation systems.
LightSquared, a wireless network backed by billionaire Democratic donor Philip Falcone, could beam broadband Internet everywhere—but some military officials fear it could interfere with critical GPS signals. Now, as The Daily Beast's Eli Lake exclusively reports, two U.S. officials allege the White House tried to influence their testimony to rush key testing, to LightSquare's benefit.
Russo’s comments come just days after four-star Air Force Gen. William Shelton, who heads U.S. Space Command, told Congress in a classified briefing that he felt pressured by the White House to change his testimony about the same project to make it more favorable to the company.
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday he was not aware he had invested in two companies backed by some of his top donors and said he had done nothing to aid their business with the government.
The Illinois senator faced questions about more than $50,000 in investments he made right after taking office in 2005 in two speculative companies, AVI Biopharma and Skyterra Communications. Obama set up a trust that gave his broker authority to trade stocks on his behalf without his input, according to 16 pages of documents he released Wednesday.
[color=limegreen]"At no point did I know what stocks were held, and at no point did I direct how those stocks were invested," Obama told reporters at the end of a news conference called to trumpet an unrelated immigration bill.
Obama purchased $5,000 in shares for AVI, which was developing a drug to treat avian flu. Two weeks after buying the stock, as the disease was spreading in Asia, Obama pushed for more federal funding to fight the disease, but he said he did not discuss the matter with any company officials.
Obama also had more than $50,000 in shares of Skyterra, a company that had just received federal permission to create a nationwide wireless network that combined satellite and land-based communications systems.
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.
Falcone is a big political donor who has given exclusively to Democrats and independents since Obama's election. Emails have surfaced showing LightSquared executives discussing donations to Obama's campaign in policy conversations with White House officials. Finally, [color=limegreen]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.
LightSquared's main lobbying firm is owned by Norman Brownstein, a major fundraiser for Obama's 2008 nominating convention.