‘Obama phone’ scam cost taxpayers big bucks last year

Surely, we’ve all seen the video of the Cleveland supporter who was singing President Obama‘s praises prior to the November election for giving away free cellphones. To refresh your memory:

As any dyed-in-the-wool conservative will gladly tell you, somebody has to pay for these “free” phones. Well, the Wall Street Journal has a report out this week that not only sheds light on the cost of this program, but also takes a look at eligibility:

The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion last year to provide phones to low-income Americans, but a Wall Street Journal review of the program shows that a large number of those who received the phones haven’t proved they are eligible to receive them.

The Lifeline program—begun in 1984 to ensure that poor people aren’t cut off from jobs, families and emergency services—is funded by charges that appear on the monthly bills of every landline and wireless-phone customer. Payouts under the program have shot up from $819 million in 2008, as more wireless carriers have persuaded regulators to let them offer the service.

The Washington Free Beacon reported in October that “the wireless company profiting from the ‘Obama-phone’ giveaway program is run by a prominent Democratic donor whose wife raised more than $1.5 million for the president since 2007.”

The report points out that Miami-based TracFone Wireless is one of the major providers of the free cellphones and that President and CEO Frederick “F.J.” Pollak “donated at least $156,500 to Democratic candidates and committees this cycle, including at least $50,000 to the Obama campaign.”

Oh, and by the way, it look as if the woman in the video had a change of heart about Obama after the election. While appearing on the Alex Jones Show in January, she was asked who she would vote for in 2016, and responded, “It darn sure won’t be Obama.”



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Tom Tillison

Tom Tillison

Tom is a grassroots activist who distinguished himself as one of the top conservative bloggers in Florida before joining BizPac Review.
Tom Tillison


  • SandyShore

    The national program that provides low-income people with free or discounted phones, but it was started under George W. Bush, Obama's Republican predecessor.

    The Myth of the 'Obama Phone' – ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/myth

    • Realist

      Actually, in the article it is stated the Lifeline program began in 1984, Bush was not in office at that time. Good try tho.

      • steve harper

        where they not supposed to be only able to dial 911 and nothing else?????????????

    • Janet Brown

      It actually started under President Reagan for landlines under the lifeline program but was extended in 1996 under president clinton to include cell phones. People on welfare or other assistance gets more for free or on the cheap than I have to payfor. I have a freebie phone from AT&T with basic service (send and receive calls) because I can't afford the texting and data plans. If I was on a government program the tecting and data would either be free or very cheap. This service was set up originally so low income people would have access to call 911 or call for help if they needed….not to have everything

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  • cm1515

    Oh My Dear Lord…will this never end? We all have been brought down to the lowest common denominator since this person held the highest position in our land. I'd sure like to get out of this gutter.

  • Bern

    And Ronald Reagan was President when the Lifeline program started!

    • steve harper

      yes he was,and the phones was supposed to dial 911 only,what and who changed?

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  • Frank

    It's a good thing you cited ABC News. No liberal bias there. Good job.

  • Rifraffe

    The threshold for eligibility for any of this free stuff should be if you really think there is any such thing as "free" stuff, be it a free lunch or a free phone, then you probably are eligible for it.

  • Don in Boston


    1.The Lifeline program began under President Reagan

    2. It was expanded in 2008 to include cellphones

    3. It makes money for the tellecomm industry in general – not just some Democratic donor's company.

    4. This blog article is very much lacking in real-world facts.

  • grs

    regardless of who what or why It was started…it is ridiculous and out of control..instead of laying blame for its existance should we not look at who is keeping it going? and how can it and similar waste of taxpayer dollars be stopped

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