Tags: obama | cell | phones | giveaway

Obama Donors Get Biggest Boon in Cellphone Giveaway

Monday, 08 Oct 2012 09:01 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A prominent Democratic donor whose wife has raised more than $1.5 million for President Barack Obama since 2007 owns a Miami-based wireless company that is profiting from an “Obama phone” giveaway program.

A video of an Obama supporter in Ohio who claimed to have received a free cell phone from the president — “[Obama] gave us a phone!” — went viral last week, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

The company, TracFone Wireless, is among several firms providing free cell phones under the Lifeline program sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission since 1985, The Beacon reports.

The program was started to provide free landline phone service for low-income individuals. It was expanded to cell phones in 2008.

TracFone’s president and chief executive officer, Frederick “F.J.” Pollak, has donated at least $156,500 to Democratic candidates and committees this election cycle, including at least $50,000 to the Obama campaign, The Beacon reports.

His wife, Abigail, has raised over $632,000 this cycle as an Obama campaign bundler. Since 2007, she has brought in more than $1.5 million since 2007.

Abigail Pollak also has personally contributed more than $200,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2008, The Beacon reports.

Under the Lifeline program, The government subsidizes Tracfone and other telecommunications companies, with those firms passing on costs to customers via a “Universal Service Charge” assessed on their phone bills.

TracFone receives $10 in federal subsidies per month for each Lifeline subscriber. It also can sell extra minutes to subscribers who exceed their monthly allowance of 250 prepaid minutes, The Beacon reports.



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