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Ear to the Ground

Can You Hear Me Now? Telecoms Paid to Give Team McCain More Bars

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Posted on Oct 15, 2008
Flickr / Jeff Kubina

It’s hard to get cell reception in an out-of-the-way place like Sedona, Ariz., but it helps if you sit on the Senate committee that oversees the telecommunications industry. The Washington Post has learned that AT&T and Verizon, both of which have lobbying ties to the McCain campaign, provided cell towers for the McCains’ ranch at no charge to the couple.


Washington Post:

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.

In July, AT&T followed suit, wheeling in a portable tower for free to match Verizon’s offer. “This is an unusual situation,” said AT&T spokeswoman Claudia B. Jones. “You can’t have a presidential nominee in an area where there is not cell coverage.”

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.

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By purplewolf, October 16, 2008 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Qwest has been boasting of their work for the RNC connections all across America also and the short amount of time they had to work on it. I won’t be using them, nor Verizon either. I for one am not impressed. My phone service, land-line which I am stuck with because of lifeline medical service, is through AT&T;and it has terrible reception, which was worked on less than 1 year ago and it still sucks and I live in a major city. Bet John and Cindy’s service is pristine and they probably get all their phone services for free. And they can afford to pay for this special perk(towers) more than anyone. Hey, they could use it as a tax write-off if they haven"t already.

This free giveaway should be illegal and needs to be exposed more pubically. Maybe this is a THANK YOU for getting all the phone companies off the hook for all the illegal activity they did for the Repug-nants in the past 8 years. It’s nice to grant favors in return for the illegal activity they did for you.

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By LJ in MD, October 16, 2008 at 5:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I get great cell service just about everywhere I travel, but I live in a true “dead zone”. 1/2 mile in any direction - full signal. Our neighborhood (200 people or so) have been doing battle with the service providers for about 5 years. The story we get every time - due to limited resources, there is nothing they can or will do at this time.
I sure am glad Sin-dee the home wrecker can get her own, private cell tower.

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By hippy pam, October 16, 2008 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

TRUE STORY!!!!!!We have a verizon “pay as you go” emergency phone.I sent a message to that phone number…in APRIL 2008….It JUST LOADED INTO VOICE MAIL
TUESDAY OCTOBER 14th…..I betcha ye ole “anhauser busche” olde money heiress doth not have ye olde problem….....Oh-by the way….I now KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN BY “blithering idiot”!!!!!McShame NEEDS HIS “guide dog[bitch]in lipstick” to even navigate POLITICAL DEBATES….

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By Greg Bacon, October 16, 2008 at 4:16 am Link to this comment

We can’t even get decent land lines in this part of the country, but the rich and famous get their own personal cell phone towers?

Gee, it must be nice to be connected… in more ways than one.

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By wildflower, October 15, 2008 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

So who is paying for all of this?  Verizon’s other customers?

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By Not so much, October 15, 2008 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Verizon denies. http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/10/verizon_denies_post_story.php

The Secret Service says they asked for it. http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/1008/Secret_Service_says_they_put_in_request_for_Verizon_tower.html?showall

Low standards out of the Washington Post? Never happened.

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