of Chairman Timothy J. Muris
Federal Trade Commission
on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection
Committee on Energy and Commerce
United States House of Representatives
June 11, 2003
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We appreciate
the opportunity to testify today to support the FTC’s
On behalf of the Commission, let me first
start by expressing our sincere thanks to you, Mr. Chairman,
and all the members of this Subcommittee, for your continued
support of the agency. Since the last reauthorization hearing,
the FTC’s dedicated staff has continued to take innovative
and aggressive actions to protect consumers and promote competition.
Today, I would like to briefly outline our mission and some
of our recent accomplishments. My colleagues will then each
discuss specific legislative proposals that the FTC is recommending
to assist the agency in better serving consumers.
The FTC’s consumer protection mission
focuses on attacking fraud and deception, consumer privacy,
deceptive lending practices, and cross-border consumer protection.
This program provides American consumers with impressive results.
Since April 1, 2002, the FTC has organized 12 joint law enforcement
efforts or “sweeps” with more than 165 partners.
These sweeps resulted in more than 400 cases targeting Internet
scams and telemarketing fraud, including deceptive work-at-home
opportunities, deceptive health claims, advance-fee credit-related
fraud, fundraising fraud, and Internet action fraud. Overall,
since April 2002, the FTC has obtained more than 65 final
judgments, ordering more than $865 million in consumer redress.
In addition to attacking fraud, the Commission
devotes significant resources to protecting consumer privacy.
This year, the Commission, with assistance from Congress,
is set to launch its National Do-Not-Call registry. Implementation
of this registry will begin this summer. Once it is in place,
consumers who have registered will begin to receive fewer
and fewer unwanted telemarketing calls. I want to thank you
Mr. Chairman and this Committee for your support of this important
In addition to unwanted telemarketing calls,
unsolicited commercial e-mail or spam is a growing consumer
concern. We are addressing consumer concerns about spam through
law enforcement, consumer and business education, and research.
In addition, the Commission has legislative proposals that
Commissioner Swindle will discuss.
The Commission has been equally as active
protecting consumers from anticompetitive conduct that could
raise prices, particularly in the health care, energy, and
In the health care sector, a number of
FTC activities will likely provide consumers with more affordable
drugs. For example, the FTC published a study examining the
frequency of anticompetitive abuses to block market entry
of lower-cost generic drugs; provided comments to the FDA
on the potential for misusing the Hatch-Waxman Act procedures
governing generic entry; and brought law enforcement actions
against branded drug companies alleging improper efforts to
delay generic entry. The Commission also recently announced
a settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb concerning alleged
abuses of the Hatch-Waxman process to obstruct the entry of
generic competition for two anti-cancer drugs and an anti-anxiety
The FTC also has been active in protecting
consumers from anticompetitive conduct that may raise the
price of oil and gas. This year, the FTC filed a complaint
alleging that Unocal improperly manipulated the process through
which California set regulations for the formulation of low-emissions
gasoline. We also began a project that monitors wholesale
and retail prices of gasoline in approximately 360 cities
across the U.S. in an effort to identify possible anticompetitive
This year, we are making several recommendations
for legislative changes. We would be happy to work with the
Subcommittee staff on these recommendations.
First, Commissioner Thompson will provide
an overview of the Commission’s recommendations to improve
cross-border fraud enforcement. These proposals also are critical
to the FTC fight against deceptive spam, since spammers often
send their messages from anywhere in the world to anyone in
Second, Commissioner Swindle will discuss
the agency’s recommendations to enhance the FTC’s
effectiveness in fighting fraudulent spam. These proposals
would improve our ability to investigate and sue possible
Third, Commissioner Leary will discuss
our recommendation to eliminate the FTC Act’s exemption
for communications common carriers.