The controversial “Obamaphone” program, which pays for cellphones for the poor, is rife with fraud, according to a new government report Thursday that found more than a third of enrollees may not even be qualified.
Known officially as the Lifeline Program, the phone giveaway became a symbol of government waste in the previous administration. Now a new report from the Government Accountability Office bears out those concerns.
The report, requested by Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, also says the program has stashed some $9 billion in assets in private bank accounts rather than with the federal treasury, further increasing risks and depriving taxpayers of the full benefit of that money.
“A complete lack of oversight is causing this program to fail the American taxpayer — everything that could go wrong is going wrong,” said Mrs. McCaskill, ranking Democrat on the Senate’s chief oversight committee and who is a former state auditor in Missouri.
“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,” she said.
The program, run by the Federal Communications Commission, predates President Obama, but it gained attention during his administration when recipients began to associate the free phone with other benefits he doled out to the poor.Please Donate