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Mexican Carlos Slim, World's Richest Man, Cashing in on "Obamaphones"
A Mexican telecom mogul who holds the title of world's richest man, and one of President Obama's top donors are both getting even richer from the U.S. government program that supplies so-called "Obamaphones" to the poor.
Carlos Slim, who has an estimated net worth of $70 billion, owns a controlling stake in TracFone, which makes $10 per phone for each device it provides to poor Americans. The company, whose president and CEO is Frederick “F.J.” Pollak, also makes money from extra minutes and data plans it sells to subscribers who get phones and service through the government's Lifeline program. The program, which began in the mid-1980s, has exploded in the past four years after being expanded from supplying landlines to the poor to providing cellular phones.
...Slim’s Movil America owns TracFone and recently snapped up service provider Simple Mobile for $100 million. TracFones and Simple Mobile service are huge players in the Lifeline program through the company's “SafeLink Wireless” brand. TracFone had 3.8 million subscribers through the federal program as of late 2011.
Pollak has donated at least $156,500 to Democratic candidates and committees this cycle, including at least $50,000 to the Obama campaign. His wife, Abigail, is a campaign bundler for Obama and has raised more than $632,000 for the president this cycle, and more than $1.5 million since 2007. She has personally contributed more than $200,000 to Democratic candidates and committees since 2008.
The Pollaks hosted Obama at their Miami Beach home in June for a $40,000-per-plate fundraising dinner, and hosted a similar event with Michelle Obama in July 2008. The couple personally donated a combined $66,200 to Obama’s re-election effort that year...
Carlos Slim, World’s Richest Man, Gets Richer Supplying ‘Obamaphones’ to Poor Perry Chiaramonte, Fox News, Oct. 10th, 2012)