â€˜Obama phones' padding pockets of Obama donor
KEVIN DANIELSEN OCTOBER 9, 2012 7:49 AM
It wasn't long ago that the â€˜Obama phone' video hit the web and went viral. Since then, there has been a call for investigation into the â€˜Obama phone' program; especially considering the circumstance surrounding the president and CEO of TracFone Wireless, the company providing the cell phones to the government. The Washington Free Beacon reports:
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.
The conflict of interest arrises when Obama campaign donations come into the picture. The CEO of TracFone Wireless, Frederick â€˜FJ' Pollak, has certainly been kind to the Obama campaign:
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.
I also forgot to mention the CEO's wife's involvement with the Obama campaign...
Pollak's wife, Abigail, is a campaign bundler for Obama who has raised more than $632,000 for the president this cycle, and more than $1.5 million since 2007. She has personally contributed more than $200,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2008.
The Pollak's have invited the President to their home for a $40,000-per-plate fundraiser event, visited the White House seven times, and Barack Obama even appointed Abigail â€˜to serve on the "Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino."
What's in it for Pollak? Well...
TracFone, a direct financial beneficiary of the Lifeline program, receives $10 a month for each subscriber in the form of federal subsidies. The company can make an additional profit selling extra minutes to Lifeline subscribers who exceed their monthly allowance of 250 prepaid minutes.
This is what the TracFone addition to Lifeline in 2008 looks like:
First, the CEO of TracFone, Mr. Pollak, approaches the President, pitching the idea that the US government should subsidize TracFones. This is a sweet deal for Obama, since it will increase his popularity with his voter-base, and with it, the chances of reelection. In addition, the Pollaks will step up their campaign contributions.
As a â€˜thank you', President Obama will gush forth political favors in the form of a job on the "Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino" for Mrs. Pollak, and $10 per TracFone that the government subsidizes. The rules on the program will be loose and will not see much oversight, so more and more TracFones can hit the streets with little regulation to stop them.
The CEO of TracFone gets rich, and Obama gets reelected ...all at the expense of the American taxpayer.
It's no wonder why this program has attracted whistle-blowers:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.), for example, found that the program was "ripe for fraud." In some cases, McCaskill noted in a December 2011 press release, the government was issuing multiple free phones to the same individuals.
Gotta love those sweet back room deals. It's not like America is already bankrupt.