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Obama’s FCC Chief Hurting Low Income Consumers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

What does the Obama Administration and his FCC appointee, Travis LeBlanc, have against immigrants calling home? LeBlanc is the Chief of the Bureau of Enforcement at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and he is seemingly out to make a name for himself by hurting immigrants and low income Americans by attacking companies serving those communities. It doesn’t matter who gets in LeBlanc’s way while he is building up his tough reputation.

Who is in LeBlanc’s way are a bunch of smaller phone service providers who serve the lower income bracket Americans with cheap long distance phone service to foreign countries, most in Central and South America. These small companies have complained that they are under attack from the federal government and the feds are driving these companies out of business one by one.

This is typical of the Obama Administration. Because these companies charge more than the Obama Administration wants, regulators have gone after them. Same with industries like online loan companies. Because the Obama Administration does not like the rates that these businesses charge, they have used the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to issue new rules that attack online lenders. That new regulation would hurt middle and low income consumers in need of a quick short term small dollar loan.

The Obama Administration shows a hostility to free market capitalism. Government bureaucrats are experts at cutting of their noses to spite their face. They don’t like the way these small businesses make money, so they use the power of government to attack them and drive them out of business. The result is that they hurt the very people they are charged and purport to protect – low income residents.

LeBlanc is crushing some great American businesses. But why?

Why would he do that? Lots of reasons really, mostly he wants to be Attorney General of his home state of California and maybe more than that someday. LeBlanc has made no secret his political aspirations. So looking tough and being known as an enforcercan go a long way to getting what he wants.

Who calls those places? Immigrants of course, legal or not, they might want to call back home once in a while to see how Abuela is doing. Nothing wrong with loving your family, yet President Obama’s lapdog is targeting the same people he is trying to naturalize through executive orders.

AT&T and Verizon can’t touch the rates charged by companies like OneLink Communications, TeleUna, Cytel, and TeleDias Communications. All of those companies were nearly destroyed by the FCC’s arbitrary actions. Consumers lost options and employees lost their jobs. The larger companies took a bigger piece of the pie and effectively raised the rates even more thanks to big government.

According to Politico LeBlanc likes the headlines, but doesn’t really like enforcement. That means he’s thrilled to take someone to court or regulate a small business into ruin, but he really doesn’t care about doing his job. Those types of behaviors garner headlines and get you noticed.

Of all the hundreds of millions LeBlanc has levied in fines on companies his Bureau has collected not one dollar. Not a penny. That isn’t the goal. You see, this is a game to him. Well, it’s not a game to the companies being targeted or the people who want to call home cheaply.

Here’s what Obama Appointee LeBlanc is doing. According to Law360 these companies were hit for something called “slamming and cramming” of consumers. The companies sanctioned are outraged at being targeted by a biased and overzealous process. Law360 reported that “The companies blasted the proposed fine as an ‘overzealous’ effort by the FCC that ignored forensic and other evidence that demonstrated there was no tampering with the authorization recordings. In a statement, they promised to oppose the fine, before the FCC and in court if necessary.” In short, the companies contested the allegations leveled by the FCC.

Law360 reported that the carriers argued that they would fight the claims and "the companies intend to expose the entire process involved as one that was overtly biased, fundamentally flawed and politically motivated. The Enforcement Bureau time and again chose to ignore facts and evidence presented by the companies." The companies are making the case that this was a politically motivated process intended on raising the profile of LeBlanc at the expense of consumers.

LeBlanc may be the most aggressive Bureau Chief in the Obama Administration. But will it get him the fame and fortune he desires? Probably yes, but at the expense of a lot of hard working immigrant Americans.

Instead of helping immigrants looking to call back to the “Old Country” inexpensively, LeBlanc has made it much harder and more expensive. He may be just the sort President Obama likes running a Department, but he doesn’t understand economics or the American Way.

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