New report debunks claims of Lifeline fraud

The Lifeline program provides $9.25 a month to subsidize phone or Internet access for poor households. For some reason, Republicans have targeted this subsidy with broad claims of $500 million in “waste, fraud, and abuse.” But a new report by Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) thoroughly demolishes those  allegations.

The report finds that the math just doesn’t add up. To reach $500 million in fraud, every single Lifeline recipient living in an apartment building – including veteran group homes, nursing homes, and homeless shelters – would have to be guilty of fraud. That’s an absurd assumption, and the report found no evidence to support it. In fact, the report concluded that the FCC’s 2010 actions to reduce fraud were successful.

“This investigation confirms that the GOP’s over-the-top allegations of widespread fraud in the Lifeline Program are not based on facts,” Rep. Pallone said in a statement on the report. “Even worse, to arrive at these trumped up claims, Republicans assumed the worst of struggling American families in order to cut a successful program that provides access to basic and essential communications services.”

“Lifeline remains a critical program for millions of Americans,” Pallone continued. “We should be working together to strengthen it and eliminate true waste where it exists, rather than simply ripping phones away from everyone who is benefiting from these services.”

 

Links:

The Lifeline Program: Examining Recent Allegations of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse (Democratic Staff Report, US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, July 2016)

Democratic Committee Investigation Finds Recent GOP Allegations of Lifeline Fraud Are Baseless (US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, July 12, 2016)