Citizens Against Government Waste awarded Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison
(R-Texas) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) the dubious distinction as September
"Porkers of the Month" for persuading the Senate Appropriations Committee that
spectrum slated for a terrestrial-based competitor to satellite TV should be
allocated free-of-charge rather than auctioned, as the Federal Communications Commission
The measure is attached to a spending bill for the FCC and the Commerce, Justice and
State Departments, and it is seen by many as a prize for Northpoint Technology Ltd., a
company that convinced the FCC to authorize the service but that insists the licenses
should be free.
The spectrum has been valued at as high as $100 million, CAGW's watchdogs said.
"With a $480 billion deficit and the president ready to send an $87 billion
supplemental-spending bill to Congress, the last thing this country needs are
two senators pandering to a special interest, violating established precedent
for auctioning spectrum rights and squandering taxpayer dollars," the group said
in its press release.
Northpoint insisted that free allocation would put the service on par with
other recent licensees in the same spectrum band, and nothing in the legislation
guarantees Northpoint a license.
The measure has not been approved by the full Senate, and the companion House
legislation does not include the spectrum provision.