A federal employee who was once a whistle-blower on government corruption on then-President Barack Obama’s watch is zeroing in on the government program the corruption was for.
In 2016, an FCC employee named Ajit Pai came forward stating that the agency under Obama was instructed to delay by one day disclosing a massive fraud investigation into the infamous Obamaphone program until said program was expanded.
At the time, Pai was just a lone Republican on the Democrat-dominated board that voted to delay disclosure of the $51 million-in -damages investigation into a phone company that allegedly pocketed $10 million by enrolling fake users in the Obamaphone program.
The public found about the fraud the day after the Obamaphone program was expanded to include broadband for low-income users.
The official word from the Democrat-dominated FCC denied any wrongdoing, and that the timing of the government expansion followed by evidence of fraud was merely coincidental.
“The timing of the enforcement action was in no way related to the timing of the vote on the program modernization,” FCC spokesman Will Wiquist said in an email.
But Pai, expressed a partial dissent from the five member vote, publicly stated that they were following government orders.
“Commissioners were told that the Notice of Apparent Liability could not be released or publicly discussed until April 1, 2016, conveniently one day after the Commission was scheduled to expand the Lifeline program to broadband,” Pai wrote. “That’s not right.”
Pai never disclosed who gave the orders to the FCC board. The government program that may have been corruptly protected was known infamously as “Obamphones,” but was in reality a program created by a Republican administration. Lifeline, a tax-payer funded program created by the Reagan administration in 1985, was designed to subsidize landline phone services to the poor, was greatly expanded under Obama.
True to liberal form, the Democratic administration threw money at a program criticized for its lack of internal safeguards.
The irresponsibility of how the administration would deal with Lifeline was perfectly encapsulated by campaign worker Michele Dowery of Cleveland. Dowery memorably informed a reporter that Obama was giving “every minority a phone” as long as you were on “food stamps, Social Security, got no income, disability.”
But Dowery’s relevance didn’t end there. A year after her lauding Lifeline under Obama, it occurred to her that she was one of many on a fixed budget who would be footing the president’s bill. Even though she worked as a maid, she saw her “first check eaten up by taxes.” Henceforth, she repudiated the president she once worked for based on his irresponsible handling of Landline.
Now Pai, Trump’s chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, appointed by the new president in January, has the program he witnessed firsthand as corrupt in his sights, and is determined to bring its spending under control.
But he also wants the process he denounced as disturbingly partisan in the FCC to change under his leadership.
Rather than follow the example of past Chairman Tom Wheller, who would not make agenda items public until after the FCC voted, the new Chairman Pai promised a much more transparent process. He told reporters that he would make public agenda items three weeks before the FCC board met.
On February 2, he said of his new “pilot program,” that it “will give the public more insight into the commission’s activities.”
Pai has the backing of Congress who is using measures to trim the waste, corruption, and fraud from not only the Obamaphone program but also from the majority of the former president’s government programs.
Republican lawmakers who proposed similar reforms in vain during the Obama years were ecstatic over Pai’s transparency measures.
“This is the type of transparency we’ve been urging the FCC to implement for the last several Congresses, and we are pleased to see that just two weeks into Commissioner Pai’s chairmanship we are already seeing positive changes at the commission,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.). Technology subcommittee Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.),
But, to the applause of Republicans and citizens disturbed by the Obama administrations’ handling of the Obamaphone program, Pai will go after its wasteful spending with knowledge painfully acquired over the Democratic-dominated FCC’s handling of prosecuting government fraud in 2016.
Pai now says that the Obama administration was extremely casual investigating specific fraud cases. Rather than seeking $51 million in damages, the actual settlement should have been $84.2 million, according to Pai.
Pai is joining forces with Congress who wants to cut the annual budget for Obamaphones from currently $2.25 billion to $1.5 million.
Against the usual liberal attacks on fiscal conservatives, Pai is not against expanding the program to include free internet services.
As more comes out, it is apparent that the corruption of the Obamaphones program was a typical practice of the administration. Obama may have lied to Congress by downplaying the Iranian missile launches during his infamous nuclear deal with the terrorist country in 2016. And now, we have the administration twisting arms in a federal agency in order, in true liberal fashion, to expand a government program it knew to be corrupt.
Pai is seeking to prevent such things from happening again. He sounds positively Jeffersonian when he says, “A budget induces careful spending” when arguing for spending caps.
Nor does he see government transparency as a partisan issue. “I don’t see process reforms like these as partisan,” he said.
But apparently the Obama administration did, and probably still does. Growing government was so sacred to them that they were willing to sacrifice taxpayers like a maid to keep government programs going.