House Republicans have launched a broad investigation into White House ties to campaign donors seeking government contracts, loans and other benefits, and are requesting White House contacts with a company whose employees made large contributions to Democrats while gaining access to presidential aides.
Among those facing Republican scrutiny: Wireless firm LightSquared, which won initial government approval in late January despite fears its network could interfere with global positioning systems, posing dangers to aircraft, military operations and search and rescue missions.
Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has “broad concerns about the danger of government trying to pick winners and losers,” Issa spokesman Frederick Hill said Tuesday in confirming the investigation.
“The committee is reviewing information brought to its attention related to LightSquared as part of a broader effort examining government actions that pick winners and losers,” Hill added.
Issa’s investigation comes amid mounting criticism in Congress that many Obama fundraisers and other supporters have enjoyed close ties to his administration. In the run-up to his 2008 election, candidate Obama had pledged to curb the influence of lobbyists and campaign donors in government.
In a separate development on Tuesday, seven Republicans on a House science and technology committeee asked the White House to turn over all records of its contacts with LightSquared. "While some may call it a coincidence," said Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Tex, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, "we remain skeptical that shortly after two separate sets of meetings and meeting requests one year apart, LightSquared employees made five-figure donations to the Democratic Party."