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Jeff Sessions Chief Counsel Partly Behind False "MarcoPhones" Rumor

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If you caught the buzz about the “Marcophone” yesterday—the false story about how the Senate immigration reform bill would grant undocumented immigrants a free cell phone—you can thank our favorite Gang of 8 member, Sen. Jeff Sessions.

We like to call it WWJD—What WOULDN’T Jeff Do to try and sink immigration reform?  This week alone, he’s complained about having to work tomorrow and Monday to hold hearings for the bill.  He also apparently doesn’t like it when immigrants are able to improve their conditions, and raise themselves out of low-wage jobs.  And now his staffmembers are spreading false rumors about what the newly released immigration legislation means.  Here’s the story from Buzzfeed:

In an email that sent out to Republican policy staffers, and forwarded to BuzzFeed, Sen. Jeff Session’s chief counsel Danielle Cutrona sent out the Shark Tank article on the “Marcophones.” Another email mentioned Marco Rubio’s chief of staff’s previous lobbying for Tracfone.

Cesar Conda was a lobbyist for Tracfone. See link and/or Senate lobbying disclosure (Navigators Global was Cesar’s old firm). See the list of lobbyists for Tracphone, a company that will likely benefit from this type of government program, is based in Miami, Florida.


The Marcophones story started when a bunch of right-wingers, including Laura Ingraham, the Shark Tank Blog, Michelle Malkin, and Breitbart News’ Matthew Doyle, misconstrued a portion of the Senate bill to mean that legalizing immigrants would be granted free cell phones.  In fact—and Rubio took to the media real quickly to clear this up—the cell phones are not for immigrants at all, but rather for border dwellers and border businesses, to ensure that people can quickly report border violence to the police and the Department of Homeland Security.  The provision is part of the large number of measures in the bill designed to beef up border security—you know, what conservatives keep clamoring for.

But that’s anti-immigrant, right-wing nuttery for you: so ridiculous you can’t guess what they’ll come up with next, and willing to flat-out lie about a bill they clearly haven’t read, in their attempts to sink it.