Congressman Keith Ellison

Representing the 5th District of Minnesota


Rep. Ellison to Pai: Were You Aware of Appointee’s Alleged Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme?

May 9, 2018
Press Release

In April 2018, FCC appointee Elizabeth Pierce was arrested by the FBI for her role in an alleged $250 million wire fraud scheme

WASHINGTON — Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) today sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai requesting an explanation of the vetting process to hire Quintillion Subsea Operations and Quintillion Networks Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Pierce to lead the agency’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), and whether Ms. Pierce’s role at the BDAC irreparably taints any recommendations made by the Committee during her tenure.

According to a Department of Justice complaint, between May and July of 2017 – the same time Ms. Pierce was serving as chair of BDAC — Ms. Pierce was allegedly engaged in a multimillion-dollar wire fraud scheme. Ms. Pierce resigned from Quintillion in August of 2017, and the following month, resigned from the BDAC.

“It appears that Ms. Pierce may have been engaging in fraudulent behavior related to her own telecommunications company at the same time she was chosen by you to lead – and was leading – an important FCC committee,” Rep. Ellison’s letter reads. “This is deeply troubling, raising questions about the process by which members of the committee were chosen, its deliberations, and its recommendations to the FCC Commissioners.”

Rep. Ellison requested a response by May 18, 2018 to a series of questions regarding what Chairman Pai knew about the allegations against Ms. Pierce and when, including “Were you or your staff aware of these allegations prior to Ms. Pierce’s resignation in September 2017?”

Read the full letter here [PDF]