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posted by janrinok on Saturday October 24 2015, @06:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the fine-them dept.

Internet service providers who accept government funding in exchange for providing Internet access in rural areas were "reminded" this week that they're not allowed to use the money for food, alcohol, entertainment, personal travel, and other expenses unrelated to providing Internet access.

The Federal Communications Commission issued a public notice with a "non-exhaustive list of expenditures" that cannot be reimbursed. The list includes all of the above as well as political contributions, charitable donations, scholarships, payment of penalties and fines, club membership fees, sponsorships of conferences and community events, gifts to employees, and personal expenses of employees and family members "including but not limited to personal expenses for housing, such as rent or mortgages."

The ban on using subsidies for food includes but is "not limited to meals to celebrate personal events, such as weddings, births, or retirements," the FCC said.

This money comes from the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is paid for by Americans through fees imposed on phone bills.

Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael O'Rielly wrote that while "the vast number of providers" would not take advantage of the system, "there are unfortunate examples to the contrary and spending on outrageous items has occurred."


Original Submission

Related Stories

Politics: FCC Guards Eject Reporter 37 comments

John M. Donnelly, a senior writer at CQ Roll Call, said he was trying to talk with FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly one-on-one after a news conference when two plainclothes guards pinned him against a wall with the backs of their bodies.

Washington Post

“Not only did they get in between me and O’Rielly but they put their shoulders together and simultaneously backed me up into the wall and pinned me to the wall for about 10 seconds just as I started to say, “Commissioner O’Rielly, I have a question,” Donnelly said Friday.

Donnelly said he was stopped long enough to allow O’Rielly to walk away.

Los Angeles Times

Donnelly, who also happens to be chair of the National Press Club Press Freedom team, said he was then forced out of the building after being asked why he had not posed his question during the news conference.

O'Rielly apologized to Donnelly on Twitter, saying he didn't recognize Donnelly in the hallway. "I saw security put themselves between you, me and my staff. I didn't see anyone put a hand on you. I'm sorry this occurred."

Politico

According to the publication for which the reporter works (archived copy),

Senators, including Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, are warning the Federal Communications Commission about its treatment of reporters after a CQ Roll Call reporter was manhandled Thursday.

“The Federal Communications Commission needs to take a hard look at why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. As The Washington Post pointed out, it’s standard operating procedure for reporters to ask questions of public officials after meetings and news conferences,” the Iowa Republican said. “It happens all day, every day. There’s no good reason to put hands on a reporter who’s doing his or her job.”

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  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday October 24 2015, @06:37PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 24 2015, @06:37PM (#254055) Homepage Journal

    First rule of capitalism: I takes the money, and it is MINE MINE MINE!

    There will be a court case going to the Supremes over this.

    --
    "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Saturday October 24 2015, @07:29PM

      by davester666 (155) on Saturday October 24 2015, @07:29PM (#254066)

      How can I make sure that twisted pair copper cable providing 128k DSL keeps working if I'm not happy? And I'm not happy unless there is a hooker sucking my dick while I'm doing a line of coke.

    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Sunday October 25 2015, @01:31AM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Sunday October 25 2015, @01:31AM (#254178)

      What's mine is mine. What's yours is negotiable.

      --
      The Word Of the Day (WOD) is finicky. As in, "sharks avoid the sewage discharge pipe because they make their finicky".
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 24 2015, @06:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 24 2015, @06:38PM (#254057)

    Upper management "No gambling with bonus assets, but you can give it to them in cash then there's no paper trail"

  • (Score: 2) by mendax on Saturday October 24 2015, @07:47PM

    by mendax (2840) on Saturday October 24 2015, @07:47PM (#254072)

    No government money for booze or trips, but once you use your own dime to get there it's okay to use government money (or should be government money) for hookers [washingtonexaminer.com]!

    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 24 2015, @08:19PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 24 2015, @08:19PM (#254090)

    You wouldn't want us to act like a bailed out bank.

    • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Sunday October 25 2015, @12:06AM

      by isostatic (365) on Sunday October 25 2015, @12:06AM (#254148) Journal

      Bankers take government employees out to the strip joints though. IT haven't twigged.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by bornagainpenguin on Sunday October 25 2015, @12:52AM

    by bornagainpenguin (3538) on Sunday October 25 2015, @12:52AM (#254161)

    Can we please tar-n-feather these jackasses?

    They're having to be told this while helping themselves to a trough of money intended to provide vital infrastructure to the poorest reaches of our nation! For chrissakes! What do they need to do before we're all finally mad enough to remind them why we no longer say 'God Save the Queen' in these United States???

  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday October 25 2015, @01:34AM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday October 25 2015, @01:34AM (#254184) Homepage Journal

    I didn't see Hookers and Blow in that list, did you?

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Hyperturtle on Sunday October 25 2015, @08:14PM

      by Hyperturtle (2824) on Sunday October 25 2015, @08:14PM (#254422)

      I think those are listed under "consumables", and are not actual line item expenses.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 25 2015, @02:31AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 25 2015, @02:31AM (#254205)

    The good news is that there's a "vast number of providers": they haven't, yet, all been bought by AT&T, Verizon, or Comcast. I doubt it's these oceans of government hooch that are keeping that from happening, but if it were, I'd tell those telecoms to continue partying heartily.

    The memo gives an example of one company which received a $242 million subsidy to serve 3659 customers from 2002 until, I assume, the present. That works out to around $66,000 per customer or $5100 per customer per year. What if the largesse had been given directly to those telecom customers to do what they pleased with it: move to a place with better telecommunications, spend it on satellite phone service, start a CLEC of their own, or just throw themselves a party? If school vouchers can work, so could that.

    I like the way the commissioners wrote "the question is why the FCC has turned a blind eye to such conduct for so long." I also like the decision they made the other day, limiting the rates for prison phone calls:

    http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/23/fcc-caps-prison-telephone-rates/ [engadget.com]

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/fcc-votes-to-cut-cost-of-phone-calls-for-inmates-1445569620 [wsj.com]

    http://www.ibtimes.com/private-prison-executives-say-new-fcc-phone-regulations-will-put-lives-danger-2154094 [ibtimes.com]

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by CirclesInSand on Sunday October 25 2015, @02:48AM

    by CirclesInSand (2899) on Sunday October 25 2015, @02:48AM (#254207)

    The key word here is Fungible [wikipedia.org].

    Hey guys, remember all those hookers and vacations we've been buying with our money collected from the monopoly on public infrastructure? Well, we just got a check from Uncle Sam to improve that infrastructure. Don't worry, we're not reducing the amount of cocaine or bonuses. Just remember not to bill the Uncle Sam account. Bill the public exploitation account.

    And don't forget, if anyone complains, blame capitalism. Because if the public catches on that public infrastructure isn't a free market, they might actually expect some public oversight and public management of spending. Can't be having that.