‘Obamaphone’ Program Riddled with Fraud
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week revealing that a third of those enrolled in the “Obamaphone” program should not have qualified.
The program, which was meant to provide low-income Americans with phones and internet access, has 10.6 million enrolled, but 3.8 million have been found to be not eligible.
The GAO’s report states that 6,400 of the phones are registered to those listed as “deceased.” While, another 5,500 registered have been given two phones.
“A complete lack of oversight is causing this program to fail the American taxpayer — everything that could go wrong is going wrong,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat on the Senate’s chief oversight committee, who requested the report. “We’re currently letting phone companies cash a government check every month with little more than the honor system to hold them accountable, and that simply can’t continue.”
The program has also stashed $9 million in private bank accounts, instead of in the federal treasury where it belongs.
Apparently it is very easy to acquire one of these phones. Of the 19 fraudulent applications that the GAO submitted as part of its investigation, 12 were approved a phone.
The federal government program is ultimately funded by other cellphone users.
“Administered by the Federal Communications Commission, Lifeline requires telecommunication companies (At&t, Verizon, Sprint) to pay a percentage of their voice service revenues into a pool called the Universal Service Fund that is administered by an independent nonprofit company called the Universal Service Administrative Company. Telecom companies pass on the cost of their contributions to consumers, whose monthly bill includes a “universal service fee” charge,” writes Breitbart.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that “GAO report confirms that waste, fraud, and abuse are all too prevalent in the program.”
“Thursday’s report is just the latest warning from the GAO, which is the government’s chief watchdog. Previous reports had warned the Obama administration the program was susceptible to double-dipping, and that the FCC didn’t even have a good yardstick to measure whether the program was meeting its goals. The FCC had promised to make changes, but the new report says those have fallen short,” writes The Washington Times.
Pai and a group of Republicans seeking to reform the program plan to cut the budget to $1.5 billion in an effort to stop the abuse.
Maybe this alarming report exposing the corruption will trigger a change?
Author’s note: But is this really that surprising? This is just an example of another giveaway program promoted by Obama being abused. Obviously, it was poorly thought out, poorly executed, and has been poorly monitored– just like most of the programs introduced or promoted by the Obama administration.