- The FCC gave away licenses to people who wanted to provide cellular services to American consumers. The licenses were free, awarded by a lottery.
- Warner got rich by winning some licenses and going into the business of “flipping” winning licenses, much like some unscrupulous real estate speculators got rich, using other people’s money by “flipping” houses.
- The people who flip houses usually do some work to spruce up a house before selling it to a new owner. Mark Warner made his millions by pushing paper. Warner got rich at the expense of the taxpayers. The U.S. government had given away the radio spectrum for free, and now the winners were promptly flipping it for a huge profit. Representative Ed Markey (D-Mass) said the lottery system was “abused by unqualified applicants whose sole objective was the trafficking of licenses” and said described the process by which Warner made his money as looking “ . . . more like ‘Let’s Make A Deal than a government-sanctioned procedure to allocate the radio spectrum.’” Former Representative Don Ritter (R-PA) said, “‘The speculator profits, the FCC plays Santa Claus and the taxpayer gets zip.’”
- Due To The Abuses, The Federal Communications Commission Changed Its Lottery Rules. “Rules now prohibit the kind of licensing-flipping that helped make Warner wealthy, requiring those awarded new licenses to operate a wireless service for a least a year before selling the license”
- But Mark Warner Violated Those Rules. And used his political connections to avoid the penalties.
Step 2: Buy a seat in the Senate.
Mark Warner, the face of crony capitalism.