ObamaPhones Profiting ObamaDonors

Program to aid the poor lining the pockets of the wealthy

Andrew Stiles
The Washington Free Beacon
10/8/2012

A wireless company profiting from the so-called “Obama phone” giveaway program is run by a prominent Democratic donor whose wife has raised more than $1.5 million for the president since 2007.

Last week a video of a President Barack Obama supporter in Ohio claiming to have received a free phone from the president—“[Obama] gave us a phone!”—went viral, prompting media outlets to investigate.

Since 1985 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has operated a program called Lifeline, originally designed to provide free landline phone service for low-income individuals. The government subsidizes telecommunications firms providing the service, and those firms also pass on costs to customers via the “Universal Service Charge” on their phone bills.

The program expanded to include cell phones in 2008. That change has rapidly increased the cost to the federal government—$1.6 billion in 2011, up from $772 million in 2008. The number of Lifeline beneficiaries rose from 7.1 million to 12.5 million during the same period; cell phones account for roughly half of that 12.5 million.

One of the major providers of the free cell phones—3.8 million subscribers as of late 2011—is Miami-based TracFone Wireless, a company whose president and CEO, Frederick “F.J.” Pollak, has donated at least $156,500 to Democratic candidates and committees this cycle, including at least $50,000 to the Obama campaign…

The article continues at The Washington Free Beacon.

 

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