Effect Measure

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.


  1. #1 caia
    October 17, 2008

    Why didn’t they just set up base at one of their other 6+ houses/condos? Or use land lines, which are more secure anyway?

    The ultra-wealthy will never make sense to me…

  2. #2 Lummox
    October 17, 2008

    I tells ya, there be dirty dealin’ down t’ the crossroads ….

  3. #3 abc
    October 17, 2008

    Chris Rock said it best: Vote for the guy with only one house, because he’s afraid of losing it.

  4. #4 CC
    October 17, 2008

    Smells sorta like pork, don’t it??!

  5. #5 Dylan
    October 17, 2008

    Can we say “conflict of interest?” Or, are we to assume that Cindy never spoke to John? Just as Todd never spoke to Sarah?

  6. #6 g336
    October 18, 2008

    Good for the McCains, they will no doubt have much more use for those cell towers after the election, when we-all send them back to Arizona.

    Caia, I’m a telephone systems engineer (and strongly partisan in favor of landlines) and the reason people in some rural areas don’t get a landline was probably because the cost of trenching it in from the nearest pole would have been prohibitive. Cell service sometimes reaches places that otherwise would have no means of voice communication. Better a crappy connection than none at all. Though when me & mine go rural, I’ll personally see to it that we have state of the art PBX service on the property, served by landlines, and I’ll gladly learn to operate a backhoe if needed to dig the trench to run the cable to the nearest pole.

    The other reason the McCains got what they wanted is because they wanted it. There is a certain strata of society in which “I want” is the supreme moral commandment.

    Yeah, I hope they enjoy their cellphone service in Arizona for the next four years. And Sarah Moosilini too, back in Alaska. BTW, for all the “drill drill drill,” the price of gasoline is highest in Alaska. Go figure.

  7. #7 G in SE IN
    October 18, 2008

    “the cost of trenching it”

    Our phone line had to be run a mile to our farm and we did the trenching for it at the same time the electricity line was put in.
    It didn’t cost anyone a dime except for some gas money to run the back hoe, but that was going to be done anyway.
    We can’t use a cell phone where we live because we live in a “holler” or small rural valley. Even the strongest cell phones do not reach our house. We even had to install a satellite to get decent internet connections. And just forget about network TV…

  8. #8 mpb
    October 18, 2008

    Uncle Ted’s wife never talks to him about house renovations in Alaska nor using staff for personal errands.

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