- Sep 8, 2003
From our friends at SkyReport.com
John McCain, the Arizona Republican and chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a letter to Northpoint Technology asking for information concerning the company's backers.
In the letter, McCain pointed to two pieces of legislation circulating on Capitol Hill that would prevent auctions for Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDDS), the wireless spectrum Northpoint is seeking for its business. "Northpoint is widely regarded to be in position to receive free licenses should either bill become law," McCain said.
McCain also said recent reports indicated that Northpoint has provided financial interests in the company to well-connected individuals. The list provided in the senator's letter included unnamed relatives of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), former President Clinton aide Betsey Wright, a former director of the Mississippi Republican Party, the wife of a former aide to Sen. Conrad Burns, and "major Democratic moneymen."
"In the interest of providing members of Congress the necessary facts to render an informed decision on the bills mentioned above, I urge Northpoint to disclose information regarding who stands to gain from the assignment of free licenses," McCain wrote.
In response, Robert Udowitz, spokesperson for the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association, said, "We believe that Sen. McCain is rightfully responding to an important link that up until now has been hidden in the shadows of Northpoint. The senator is asking some critically important questions to a company that has spent the last couple of years actively lobbying for what could be a $100 million spectrum giveaway at the expense of the taxpayer and competition."
Satellite interests have been fighting MVDDS, fearing that the spectrum-sharing technology will interfere with satellite signals.