Corruption is present in all nations of the world and the US is not an exception. The FCC is now investigating a California cell phone company that is suspected of defrauding the federal Lifeline, otherwise known as the “Obamaphone” program. The agency, however, announced the expansion of this program, according to the commissioners and this, despite the fact that the “Obama phone” program has been found to be plagued with scammers.
Commissioner Ajit Pai, Republican member of the FCC expressed, "I think it's an outrage, not just as a Commissioner but as a citizen, for this program to be administered the way it has been, overlooking the fraud and expanding it even further," It is now public knowledge that federal regulators were requested to keep this massive investigation of fraud against the phone company under wraps until the controversial voting for the expansion of the program took place.
Last Friday, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it will be going after $51 million in damages from the phone company that supposedly defrauded the Federal Lifeline by $10 million. Out of all the commissioners in the FCC, only Pai dissented from revealing the current investigation.
“Commissioners were told that the Notice of Apparent Liability could not be released or publicly discussed until April 1, 2016, conveniently one day after the Commission was scheduled to expand the Lifeline program to broadband,” Pai wrote. “That’s not right.”
Will Wiquist, FCC spokesperson responded through an email stating that “the timing of the enforcement action was in no way related to the timing of the vote on the program modernization”, claiming this to be pure coincidence.
The name of “Obamaphone” was started by the program’s opponent who named the phones subsidized under the program “Obamaphones” after watching a viral video on YouTube where beneficiaries were thanking the President. The program was actually created under the administration of Ronald Reagan.