GAO: Some progress on Lifeline reform, but much still to do

As Congress’s watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) does not pull punches when assessing how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. In March 2015, the agency issued a blistering report on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) efforts to assist low-income families. The report criticized the agency for spending $1.7 billion annually without knowing — or caring — whether any of this money actually helped narrow the digital divide. Its title succinctly summarized its findings: “FCC should evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the lifeline program.”