Carlos Slim, who is said to be the world’s wealthiest man, is apparently cashing in on the “Obama phone” program.
The federal government’s Lifeline program for handing out free cell phones to low-income Americans came to the forefront in a viral YouTube video of a Ohio woman saying she was voting for Obama because he gave her a phone.
It turns out that Slim, a telecom mogul based in Mexico, and another politically connected individual are profiting nicely from this rapidly expanding free cell phone program, according to FNC:
“Carlos Slim, who has an estimated net worth of $70 billion, owns a controlling stake in TracFone, which makes $10 per phone for each device it provides to poor Americans. The company, whose president and CEO is Frederick ‘F.J.’ Pollak, also makes money from extra minutes and data plans it sells to subscribers who get phones and service through the government’s Lifeline program.”
FNC also reports that Pollak and his wife are big Obama campaign donors and bundlers who have also hosted fundraisers for the president and contributed to other Democrats.
The Lifeline program reportedly cost the taxpayers about $1.6 billion in 2011. Legislation has been introduced in Congress to phase out the Lifeline program.
In March, Forbes described Slim’s balance sheet as follows:
“Carlos Slim Helu retains the title of world’s richest man for the third year in a row despite a fortune that’s $5 billion smaller than a year ago-primarily because of a lower share price for telecom giant America Movil, which accounts for more than half his net worth.”
American Movil is apparently Latin America’s largest mobile-phone carrier.
Do you think that there is a lack of political transparency when it comes to the Obama phone program?