FCC Commish Pai: We Were Told To Be Quiet on ‘Obamaphone’ Fraud

Wednesday on Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Company,” FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said he was told to keep quiet about potential fraud in the free cell phones for the poor program dubbed “Obamaphones.”

When asked if he was told to keep quite about fraud, Pai said, “That’s correct. On March 31 the FCC, on a party line, voted to dramatically expand this program to cover internet access in addition to phone service. However, about a month before that, we were told about a serious investigation involving a wireless carrier that defrauded the American taxpayer of millions upon millions of dollars. We learned about the fraud back in October 2014, that the investigation had wrapped up pretty much in the middle of 2015. But we were not going to be able to say anything about it until April 1 at the very earliest—conveniently one day after we voted on that party line to expand that program. That was wrong.”

He added, “It’s increasingly critical in the modern digital economy for all people, especially low-income Americans, rural Americans and others to have internet access. But the question is, how do we have a fiscally responsible program that gets us to that goal?  And this program we have on the table is not that. We are wasting millions upon millions of dollars on people who frankly don’t need the help in a lot of cases.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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