U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Chairman of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, today sent letters to the heads of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding recent reports of rampant fraud and abuse within the free government cell phone program known as Lifeline by purported beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
“Reports of fraud within the Lifeline program continue to be uncovered on a far too frequent basis – most recently seen in Colorado when a Lifeline vendor was found deliberately violating the program’s rules in order to issue free government-provided cell phones to ineligible individuals,” said Vitter. “Clearly, the current standards regulating Lifeline beneficiaries are ineffective and allow for routine abuse by repeat offenders, which is why reforms must be prioritized and implemented immediately.”
In today’s letters, Vitter urged leadership of both programs to increase accountability standards in order to prevent further fraud and abuse. Earlier this week, Vitter continued his long-term investigation into the fraud and abuse within Lifeline. Vitter has also introduced S. 56, the Ending Mobile Phone Welfare Act of 2015, which would eliminate the cell phone portion of the Lifeline program. Click here to read more.