Citizen Group Starts Petition To End Lifeline Program

Friday, November 23rd 2012, 5:46 pm
By: News On 6

A citizen group is demanding the end of a government cell phone program that was the subject of a recent Oklahoma Impact Team investigation.

"Citizens Against Government Waste" is asking people to sign a letter to Congress, calling for the elimination of the program that cost Americans 1.6 billion dollars last year.

In a letter to its supporters "Citizens Against Government Waste" calls it an "outrageous" and "abusive" program and asks citizens to help bring it to an end.

It's the Lifeline program we first investigated in October, with the free cell phone tents often set up on Oklahoma street corners.

The program is meant to help low-income Americans afford cell phone service.

To qualify, people must prove they are below the poverty line or already receive government benefits.

10/25/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma Is Ground Zero For Government Cell Phone Fraud

But our investigation revealed tent workers giving free cell phones to people who don't qualify, and signing them up for the Lifeline program, so the companies can collect more money from the government.

The Feds have revamped the program to try and cut down on fraud and some members of Congress, including Oklahoma's Tom Coburn, have unsuccessfully called for an end of the program.

Now Citizens Against Government Waste says it's time for citizens to help and make the program the "subject of public ridicule and scorn from coast to coast."

But instead of calling it by its actual name, the Lifeline program, the group is calling for an end to the "ObamaPhone" program, writing its cost has doubled under Obama's administration.

The letter even points to a YouTube video, where a woman says she planned to vote for Obama because of it.

The truth is this program began in 1985, providing land lines under the Reagan administration.

It was changed to include cell phones in 2003, under the Bush administration.

Fraud, waste and abuse have skyrocketed under Obama's administration, along with the cost to Americans, but no matter who you blame, it seems some groups are fed up enough to call for the program's termination.