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
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
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
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
* 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
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:
* 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.