Gen. William Shelton, head of the Air Force Space Command, told House members in a classified briefing earlier this month that he was pressured to change prepared congressional testimony in a way that would favor a large company funded by Philip Falcone, a major Democratic donor, congressional sources told Fox News.
Republicans have raised questions about whether the project pursued by the company, LightSquared, is being unduly expedited by the Obama administration, which has pushed for national wireless network upgrades.
But Philip Falcone is also a major Republican donor.
According to the FEC disclosure database, Falcone donated $28,500 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2008, $20,000 to the Republican Party of Minnesota in 2008 and 2009, $12,300 to Norm Coleman's recount campaign, $4,600 to Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and even $1,000 to George W. Bush's presidential campaign. He also made large contributions to Democrats, including a total of $58,900 to the DSCC, but he didn't contribute a dime to the Obama administration.
Nonethless, Republicans are convinced that if there was an attempt to influence Shelton's testimony, it's an example of Democratic corruption:
“There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias his testimony,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said in an interview. “The only people who were involved in the process in preparation for the hearing included the Department of Defense, the White House, and the Office Management and Budget.”
And just what did the White House allegedly want Shelton to say?
According to officials familiar with the situation, Shelton’s prepared testimony was leaked in advance to the company. And the White House asked the general to alter the testimony to add two points: that the general supported the White House policy to add more broadband for commercial use; and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days. Shelton chafed at the intervention, which seemed to soften the Pentagon’s position and might be viewed as helping the company as it tries to get the project launched, officials said.
So the White House allegedly asked Shelton to to say (1) that he supports commercial wireless broadband and (2) that he would seek to expedite the Pentagon's review of the technology used by LightSquared.
So Republicans are pissed off that the Obama administration might be trying to fast track the regulatory approval process. Uh, isn't that exactly what they have been demanding ever since President Obama took office? A day doesn't go by that you don't hear some Republican or another demand that President Obama lift the regulatory burden on America's "job creators."
But as soon as there's a rumor that President Obama may have helped a "job creator" clear one of those regulatory hurdles, it's proof that he's corrupt—even though he was just doing what Republicans said they wanted him to do in the first place. He's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.