Can You Hear Him Now?

The WaPo is reporting that Verizon and AT&T both provided free of charge, at Cindy McCain's request, portable cell phone towers to the McCains for use on their 15-acre ranch near Sedona, Arizona, where they couldn't get any coverage. Gee, isn't that nice of them?

Problem is, it's just the tiniest bit unethical to have the wife of a sitting senator and presidential candidate to be requesting such favors, offering "land for a permanent cell tower" in return, and accepting valuable campaign contributions from telecoms:
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.

…"It raises the aura of special consideration for somebody because he is a member of the Senate," said Stanley Brand, a former House counsel for Democrats and an ethics attorney who represents politicians of both parties. "Here is a guy who is campaigning as Mr. Maverick and Mr. Reformer and he keeps skirting the edge."
But wait—there's more!

Five of McCain's campaign officials have worked as lobbyists for Verizon, including his campaign manager, Rick Davis. Several of McCains' senior senate staffers, including chief of staff Mark Buse and senior strategist Charles Black, have worked as lobbyists for AT&T. Combined, Verizon and AT&T lobbyists and employees have donated more than $3.6 million to McCain's presidential campaign.


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