U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), a former prosecutor who served as New Hampshire's Attorney General, served as the Ranking Member at a Commerce Committee hearing this morning focusing on the illegal phone billing practice known as "cramming." As the panel today released the results of a year-long report that examined unauthorized mystery charges being placed on landline telephone bills, witnesses from law enforcement and industry presented testimony.
"As we continue to examine this issue and discuss how to best address it, we must not lose sight of the fact that cramming affects regular, hard-working Americans who are being scammed out of their hard-earned dollars," said Senator Ayotte. "As a former prosecutor, it is my intent to bring to justice the bad actors, and this hearing provides a valuable opportunity to spend some time talking about prosecuting crammers and how to best go after those defrauding consumers. Without a strict deterrent or fear of retribution for those scamming the public, we are not fully addressing this issue."
Senator Ayotte was selected as the lead Republican at today's hearing based on her extensive background in law enforcement. She serves on the following Commerce subcommittees: Communications, Technology and the Internet; Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion; Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard; Science and Space; and Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security.
The following witnesses were set to appear at today's Commerce Committee hearing, entitled "Unauthorized Charges on Telephone Bills: Why Crammers Win and Consumers Lose:" Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, State of Illinois; Elliot Burg, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Vermont Attorney General; Susan Eppley, Decatur, Georgia; David Spofford, Chief Executive Officer, Xigo, LLC; Walter McCormick Jr., President and CEO, U.S. Telecom Association.