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Obama Campaign Donor Wins FCC Waiver From Auction Rules


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A private-equity company owned by a campaign donor to U.S. President Barack Obama won a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission that may help it bid in airwaves auctions.


Grain Management LLC may not have qualified for benefits reserved for small businesses because airwaves leases to AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. caused it to exceed the program’s income limits, the company had said in an FCC filing. The agency has adopted a waiver, an FCC spokesman, Neil Grace, said yesterday in an e-mail without providing details.


Grain Management, based in Sarasota, Florida, invests in media and communications and is controlled by David Grain, according to the company’s March 4 filing asking the FCC to waive the rule.


“Certainly there has not been a waiver like this,” Andrew Jay Schwartzman, a Georgetown University law professor, said in an interview. “The circumstances have not arisen” with the revenue of the largest wireless providers entering the picture.


David Grain contributed more than $60,000 to Obama’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee in 2008, and $22,500 in 2012, Federal Election Commission filings show. He was also one of Obama’s top fundraisers for the 2008 election, bringing in $200,000 to $500,000, according to the campaign.



How convenient...

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