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Phil Bartlett Stunned By Feds Verizon Lawsuit
August 22, 2006
AUGUSTA– Senator Philip Bartlett II ( D-Cumberland
County ), Chair of the utilities and Energy Committee, announced
today that he was stunned to hear that the Federal Government was
suing Verizon and the State to keep Verizon from affirming the
truthfulness of statements contained in press releases from the
company concerning possible wiretapping by the National Security
Agency (NSA). A group of 22 citizens had asked the Public Utilities
Commission (PUC) to open an investigation into information provided
by Verizon to the NSA. In response, Verizon urged the PUC not to
open an investigation and supported its request by referring to
statements include in two press releases issued by Verizon in May.
Before deciding whether to open an investigation, the PUC asked
Verizon to affirm, under oath, that the representations contained
in the press release and presented to the PUC were in fact true
and not misleading.
I find it outrageous that the Federal Government could suggest
that the State doesn't have the authority to
ask a regulated entity to tell the truth," Senator
"It is a clear infringement on federalist principles
to prohibit Maine's government from asking Verizon to provide
the information needed to confirm the veracity of their own
press statements. I hope the PUC and the Attorney General will
stand firm and take this to the Supreme Court if necessary to protect
the State from this intrusion on its sovereignty."
The PUC and the Attorney General have not yet responded to
the Federal suit.
In addition to chairing the Utilities Committee, Senator Bartlett
serves on the Labor Committee, and represents the communities
of Gorham, Scarborough and Westbrook.