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Congressman works to protect consumers from abuse

BRAD SHERMAN

Protecting consumers is one of my top priorities. Although I do not

have the space to address all of the consumer protection concerns

facing Congress, there are several areas in which we have made

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important gains, and which I would like to bring to your attention.

* Protecting Mutual Fund Investors: Responding to a widening

mutual fund scandal, I strongly supported the Mutual Funds Integrity

and Fee Transparency Act, when it came before the Financial Services

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Committee on which I serve. This legislation bans “market timing” by

fund managers in shares of their own funds, a practice that burdens

long-term shareholders with transaction costs and capital gains

taxes. It also requires mutual funds to disclose fees and costs,

including costs that have not been disclosed in the past. This is an

important protection measure. Next year, our committee will consider

additional steps to protect mutual fund investors.

I should also note that the abuses in the mutual fund industry

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came to light chiefly through the work of state enforcement

officials, including New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer. I have taken

the lead in the House in defending the authority of state securities

regulators -- and we have stopped efforts to preempt and muzzle these

state regulators.

* Stopping Unwanted Telemarketers: I co-sponsored the Do Not Call

Implementation Act creating a Do Not Call Registry for telemarketers.

The bill was adopted last summer and despite several legal

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challenges, the registry is currently in operation. If you have not

already signed up, you may go to www.donotcall.gov or call the

following toll-free phone number from the phone you wish to register:

(888) 382-1222.

* Protecting Your Credit Report: With identity theft on the rise

and growing concerns for financial privacy, I worked for the passage

of tough regulations in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act.

I worked to improve consumers’ access to the information on their

credit report, and to improve the accuracy of that information. I

also won approval of an amendment to require credit reporting

agencies to disclose the name, address and telephone number of

entities reporting information on a credit report, to help consumers

who want to straighten out inaccuracies.

* Keeping your TV Viewing Private: Have you ever wondered if

someone was able to keep track of which television or cable shows you

watched? You may be surprised to learn that all of this data is

collected daily from viewers of TiVo and other similar high-tech

digital video recorders service providers. To protect consumers from

abuse of their personal data, I introduced the Television Viewer

Privacy Act. You should feel free to use the latest technology

without sacrificing your privacy.

* Spam: Spam is unsolicited e-mail advertising that clutters the

inboxes of Internet users. It costs businesses and home users time

and money. That is why I cosponsored the Anti-Spam Act, which would

require bulk e-mailers to use a legitimate return address, making it

easy for e-mail service providers to identify spam and enabling users

to block it.

* Congressman BRAD SHERMAN (D-Burbank) represents roughly half of

the San Fernando Valley, including a portion of Burbank.


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