CONGRESS MOVES QUICKLY TO CLEAR 'DO NOT CALL' LEGAL FLAW

Meanwhile, Denver Court Rules Law Unconstitutional

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a rapid series of developments related to the Do Not Call Registry, Congress yesterday took action to remedy a legislative
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flaw that was the subject of a Wednesday court ruling in Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, a Denver court late yesterday handed down a separate ruling that called the law unconstitutional, and President Bush issued a statement calling unwanted telemarketing calls "intrusive" and "annoying."

FTC authorization
The congressional action was designed to address a ruling Wednesday by Oklahoma U.S. District Court Judge Lee R. West, who determined that previous legislation had failed to actually authorize the Federal Trade Commission to create a national Do Not Call Registry. The House and Senate overwhelmingly voted to establish the FTC's power to do that.

New Denver ruling
In a separate action Denver U.S. District Court Judge Edward W. Nottingham ruled that the do-not-call list was unconstitutional and could not be implemented as planned next month.

"I do not believe that our Constitution dictates such an illogical result," the FTC's chairman, Timothy Muris, said in a statement. "To the contrary, our Constitution allows consumers to choose not to receive commercial telemarketing calls."

The FTC is publicly encouraging consumers to continue to sign up to be on the list while the latest legal issues raised by the Denver ruling are reviewed.

In a statement, Federal Communications Committee Chairman Michael K. Powell said, "The will of the people, the will of the Congress and of the Administration could not be more clear. Fifty million Americans have, thus far, asked not to be bothered by unwanted calls. This decision wasn't just disappointing to millions of Americans, it was fundamentally flawed. We strongly believe the Do Not Call list withstands constitutional scrutiny."

The FCC also has a do-not-call registry that covers marketers not regulated by the FTC.

Broad political support
Response backing the law and concept of the do-not-call system, which allows consumers to block calls from telemarketers, came from numerous congressional offices as well as the White House last night.

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