Several workers shown on undercover video apparently acknowledging potential “Obama phone” abuse have reportedly been fired.
The federal government’s Lifeline program hands out free cell phones to low-income Americans ($16,000 income or less) and was made famous by the Obama phone lady last September. Although the program started under the Reagan administration, it has mushroomed into a $2 billion taxpayer-funded expenditure in 2012. The most common way to qualify for an Obama phone is to flash an EBT card.
Like many government programs, it started out with good intentions but morphed into something far different. “The so-called Obamaphone project has a noble goal to help low-income Americans pay for mobile phones, allowing them to have contact numbers for job interviews or to access emergency services.”
At least based on the hidden-camera video, the workers seem indifferent to what happens to the phone after it is issued. “Salespeople working for Stand Up Wireless and TerraCom Wireless — the two companies featured in the video footage– were willing to assign phones to applicants who said they would immediately sell them instead of using them according to the program’s guidelines.
Controversial muckraker James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas crew sent a undercover reporter to several Obama phone distribution venues. In one case shown in the video, the undercover operative says he’s going to sell the Obama phone for heroin. The worker replies, “hey, I don’t judge.”
Subsequent to the video, the company indicated it had taken disciplinary action: “Global Connection Inc. of America, the parent company for Stand Up Wireless, has already taken disciplinary action against the employees in question. ‘Any employee involved has already been terminated,’ CEO Dave Skogen [said].”
At another venue, a Project Veritas undercover reporter suggests to workers that she might sell her Obama phone for “an awesome pair of shoes.” Another operative alludes to buying a “Louis Vuitton handbag.”
According to a TerraCom spokesman, “We will immediately look into this matter. This kind of behavior is not acceptable and swift action will be taken to address this situation, including the employee’s termination from TerraCom.”
Athough O’Keefe has his share of detractors for his particular brand of journalism, his team has also exposed the corrupt ACORN organization, voter fraud, and revealed that some anti-gun journalists declined to post gun-free zone signs outside their own homes.
Various wireless companies are making tens of millions on the Obama phone program. Billionaire Carlos Slim, owner of TracFone, reportedly makes $10 per phone pursuant to this government-funded program.
Watch the video, and draw your own conclusions.