Bloomberg News

LightSquared, GPS Maker Boost Lobbying in Washington Showdown

October 20, 2011

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Philip Falcone’s LightSquared wireless venture and its critic Trimble Navigation Ltd. boosted lobbying this year as a fight escalated in Washington over whether the project will harm the global-positioning system.

Lobbying spending by Reston, Virginia-based LightSquared climbed to at least $1.2 million from Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, a 123 percent increase from the first nine months of 2010, according to U.S. Senate records reviewed today.

Spending by Sunnyvale, California-based navigation-gear maker Trimble reached $1 million through Sept. 30, more than triple the amount from the same period a year earlier, according to Senate records. Today is the deadline for third-quarter lobbying reports to be filed with the Senate.

LightSquared, backed by $3 billion from Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, wants to offer high-speed Internet service to as many as 260 million people using airwaves previously reserved mainly for satellites.

Trimble and other makers and users of global-positioning system devices say LightSquared’s signals will interfere with navigation by planes, boats, tractors and cars. U.S. regulators are deciding how to handle complaints by the military and the GPS industry about possible interference from LightSquared.

The lobbying figures for the two companies represent reported payments to outside groups for efforts to influence members of Congress and federal agencies. House committees have held four hearings on LightSquared, and the Federal Communications Commission and a Commerce Department agency are reviewing the company’s plans.

LightSquared this year has hired former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, and the Gephardt Group, a firm headed by former U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt, a Democrat from Missouri who served as House majority leader, according to disclosure filings.

Lobbyists hired by Trimble this year include former Vic Fazio, a California Democrat, and Bill Paxon, a New York Republican, both former U.S. representatives.

--Editors: Michael Shepard, Steve Geimann

To contact the reporters on this story: Todd Shields in Washington at; Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Shepard at

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