“It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about,” President Obama said to Rutgers University graduates during his commencement address. I wonder what the former President thinks about this:
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday announced that it would seek $51 million in damages from a cell phone company that allegedly defrauded the federal Lifeline program of nearly $10 million.
That's $10,000,000.00 of tax payer money down the drain, by the way... but you've probably not heard of it. Why not? Well, the FCC was ordered to keep this a secret until one day after a vote to expand a program:
The commission’s five members unanimously backed the Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL), but Republican commissioner Ajit Pai parted from his colleagues in a partial dissent. According to Pai, he and other commissioners were told not to reveal the details of its investigation until April 1, a day after the FCC voted to expand the Lifeline program.
Though it's not clear who ordered the FCC to stay quiet, Pai wrote, "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. That’s not right."
But don't jump to conclusions! The FCC spokesman Will Wiquist says we all need to just calm down. "The timing of the enforcement action was in no way related to the timing of the vote on the program modernization," he wrote.
However, here's the bottom line: a corrupt, fraudulent program was expanded in spite of worries over too few internal safeguards and in spite of the fact that it has already bilked the American taxpayers out of $10 million. I suppose that's a fitting legacy for the "most transparent administration in history."
Photo credit: Obama White House at Flickr