Pallone Demands FCC Take Action to Prevent Abuse of High-Cost Fund
Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai today urging the FCC to take immediate action to protect the High-Cost Fund against flagrant abuse of federal funds.
The issue first came into focus as part of an investigation Pallone began into how the High-Cost program operates following several high-profile abuses of the program. As part of that inquiry, the FCC’s Office of the Inspector General found that it does not have capacity nor the capability to ferret out all of the abuse taking place in the program. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will soon begin a full review of the High-Cost program following Pallone’s inquiry
“Despite these examples of abuse and bipartisan agreement among your colleagues, the FCC has not moved to complete its proceeding to reign in these extravagant costs in the ten months you have been Chairman,” Pallone wrote to Chairman Pai. “Instead, you have focused almost exclusively on the smaller programs within the Universal Service Fund (USF) program—programs that the FCC had already taken steps to update. When it comes to the potentially widespread problems in the largest USF program, the FCC has issued only a public notice to remind carriers of what expenses are allowed. That simply is not enough.”
Pallone continued, “I urge the Commission to take action immediately to protect this program pursuant to the authority granted to it by Congress. Additionally, I request that you fully and completely cooperate with GAO’s investigation as it gets underway.”
A copy of the letter is available HERE.