Living on a big ranch outside a city in a state with wide open spaces can be wonderful but it can also be a problem if you depend on modern telecommunications systems like cell phone service. If you are the only one around for miles and miles, it isn’t that likely you will be supplied with a cell phone base station. Unless you are a presidential candidate and powerful Senator and senior member of a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over telecommunications policy. Then even telecom giants are more than happy to accommodate you. Free of charge:
Early in 2007, just as her husband launched his presidential bid, Cindy McCain decided to resolve an old problem — the lack of cellular telephone coverage on her remote 15-acre ranch near Sedona, nestled deep in a tree-lined canyon called Hidden Valley.
By the time Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid was in full swing this summer, the ranch had wireless coverage from the two cellular companies most often used by campaign staff — Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
Verizon delivered a portable tower know as a “cell site on wheels” — free of charge — to Cindy McCain’s property in June in response to an online request from Cindy McCain’s staff early last year. Such devices are usually reserved for restoring service when cell coverage is knocked out during emergencies, such as hurricanes.
Over the course of the past year, Cindy McCain had offered land for a permanent cell tower and Verizon embarked on an expensive process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits even though few people other than the McCains would benefit from the tower.
Ethics lawyers said Cindy McCain’s dealings with the wireless companies stand out because Sen. John McCain is a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry. He has been a leading advocate for industry-backed legislation, fighting regulations and taxes on telecommunications services.(James Grimaldi, Washington Post)
Five of McCain’s campaign staff, including its director, have been lobbyists for Verizon. His chief of staff, senior strategist and several other staffers have been registered AT&T lobbyists. AT&T is among the top donors to his campaign.
Very mavrick-y, Senatory McCain. You hypocrite.