Level 3 Executives Cozy with White House Report

Former and current Level 3 Communications executives have a cozy relationship with the White House, according to an investigative report by the Center for Public Integritys iWatch News.

The report found that former Level 3 executive Donald H. Gips was placed in charge of hiring in the Obama White House and later appointed ambassador to South Africa after collecting more than $500,000 for Barack Obamas presidential campaign.

Other Level 3 executives who raised money for the presidential campaign included Level 3 Chief Executive James Crowe (at least $100,000) and Level 3 Vice Chairman Charles Miller III (more than $50,000), iWatch News reported.

In October, Obama announced his plans to name Crowe Chair of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.

The report also found that Level 3 has been awarded millions of dollars in federal stimulus contracts to extend broadband connections in rural areas.

But Gips a former Federal Communications Commission official who served for 10 years as Level 3s group vice president of global corporate development told iWatch News (in an email sent through the White House) that he has not been involved in any matter involving Level 3″ since he joined the Obama Administration. He also said he was unaware Level 3 had received the stimulus contracts.

The investigative report found that nearly 200 of Obamas largest donors landed coveted government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars or attended elite White House meetings and social events.

Some of the individuals who raised money for Obamas campaign included FCC officials most notably Chairman Julius Genachowski, who went to Harvard Law School with Obama and raised $500,000 for the campaign, according to iWatch News.

In June 2009, Genachowski was sworn in as FCC Chairman after being appointed by Obama.

In a letter addressed to Genachowski in connection with the FCCs controversial Internet rules adopted in December, one lawmaker asserted that the FCC has done little to demonstrate its independence from the White House.”

Genachowski visited the White House 81 times between January 2009 and November 2010, said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.

To put this in perspective, this equals the number of visits over the same period by the Secretary of Energy (11), Secretary of Homeland Security (16), Secretary of Defense (10), Secretary of Treasury (23), and Secretary of State (21) combined,” wrote Issa, who requested documents and information related to the White Houses possible involvement with the FCCs Net neutrality rulemaking last year.

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