The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has formally scheduled a hearing on the E-rate program on June 9, beginning at 10 a.m. The hearing is entitled "Problems with the E-rate Program: Waste, Fraud and Abuse Concerns in the Wiring of Our Nation's Schools to the Internet." The committee specified that witnesses will be by invitation only.
The hearing has been in the works since March 2003, when the subcommittee asked the Federal Communications Commission and the Universal Service Administrative Company to turn over extensive records related to their management of the program. In July of last year, the subcommittee subpoenaed program-related documents from 15 companies or consultants that had participated in the program.
After the committee began its work, the Schools and Libraries Division convened a Task Force on the Prevention of Waste, Fraud and Abuse that made recommendations to the program's administrators on ways that waste, fraud and abuse could be more effectively addressed. Since then, law enforcement authorities have successfully prosecuted a handful of cases related to E-rate fraud.
The subcommittee's hearing will be open to the public and also available by webcast. Updated information will be available at http://energycommerce.house.gov.